Winterizing Garden Beds
Steps to take for your vegetable and flower beds to help them sleep peacefully all winter and spring into action next year!
You will be so far ahead of the game next spring if you clean up and prep your garden beds in late October or early November instead of waiting until planting time next spring. Just a few easy-peasy steps will get things ready!
- First cut everything back. Spent flowers, leftover stalks, anything left over – cut it back or remove it, whichever is appropriate. The only exception is if your beds hold ornamental grass (especially pampas grass). These are not terribly winter-hardy and will benefit from leaving the grass blades in place, even though they turn brown. Those blades will serve as protection against snow, rain and sleet, acting like an umbrella over the roots!
- Clean the bed! Get ready of any trash, any weeds, fallen leaves, any kind of debris that has gathered there. This is especially important for Bearded Iris beds, since debris is where larvae live that develop into iris borers next season. Removing it now is a much better approach than relying on insecticides next summer!
- Use a little weed preventer to keep cool season weeds from sprouting. Lots of weeds like chickweed and henbit, for example, actually germinate in the fall, stay fairly small all winter, then have a growth explosion during the first mild days of February! Any of our friendly associates will be glad to help you choose the right preventer, pointing out both regular and all-natural options we have available.
- Lay a thin layer of mulch over the perennial beds, just an inch or so, to protect any flower bulbs, perennial roots, and the soil itself as well.
- Now that the bed is cleaned up and free of debris, it’s a good time to test your garden soil to prepare for a great growing season come spring. We have easy-to-use test kits available to check the pH level and nutrient content.
- Finally, take a few minutes to look back over this past growing season and plan for the next. Write down notes about any flowers or vegetables that worked particularly well or, conversely, that struggled this year. It’s easy to forget over several months time, especially when you get all caught up in a new planting season!