Get your Fall Garden Ready for Winter, Spring

The autumnal months are crucial for any garden — what you do now can set it up for winter tenacity and spring vibrancy.

You may still be tending to a few hardy vegetable plants, depending on whether the first frosts have arrived, but most of your time will be spent protecting your soil and planting the seeds for a few late-fall flowers and setting the table for warm-weather success.

  • Decide what you’ll do with your annuals — some prefer to pull them out of the ground and pots before they’re zapped by frost to maintain a clean look, while others would rather leave some alone for a more natural look and food sources for birds and other wildlife. There’s no question about weeds, leaves and other debris, just get rid of those.
  • Amend the soil with organic materials and mulch, ideally using the healthy matter left behind by your annuals and cut-back perennials, along with other sources. But anything that’s diseased or pest-ridden should be disposed of, or you’ll risk starting the cycle anew in the spring. Consider getting your soil tested for pH levels and other stats that can tell you exactly what it does and doesn’t need.
  • Bring inside all the potted plants that can survive there and store empty pots and planters.
  • Apply systemic insecticides for a more effective and eco-friendly approach to spring pest management.
  • Don’t forget fall is prime time for planting new trees and shrubs, as well as winter annuals, perennials and spring bulbs like crocus and daffodil. Some of these can offer some late-fall and winter color to your yard, including pansies, mums and snapdragons.

Of course you’ll be spending most of your time prepping your vegetation for the cold weather, but don’t forget about the inert stuff — weatherize and cover or store any furniture that needs to be protected, do a deep-clean on the grill, insulate any water valves or features, seal any cracks that have developed on your patio and prepare your deck for whatever winter role it has in your yard.

It takes some work, but you’re going to love the results!