Here's what you need to do to prepare your garden for winter, according to a publication from Virginia Tech:
- Pull up any dead plants, especially annual vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, etc. that are finished for the season. Leaving dead plants in the garden provides a safe haven for damaging insects and disease organisms.
- Discard diseased plants in the trash. Do not compost them. This can spread disease organisms back into the soil.
- Work compost into the soil after you finish your garden clean up.
- Raking leaves? Add them to your compost pile!
- Cover crops decrease erosion and help retain moisture in the soil. Good cover crops are mixtures of legumes. In the spring, till the cover crop into the soil for added nutrients.
- Think spring! Finish planting tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring-blooming bulbs in the fall. You can continue planting them until the ground can no longer be worked.
It is also a good idea to drain hoses, fountains, and bird baths, and put them inside for the winter. Terracotta and stone pots should also be stored in a dry place. Water can seep into the porous surface, freeze, and crack, causing damage.
Lastly, don't forget to service your lawn mower and gardening tools such as edgers and trimmers according to the manufacturer's directions.
Photo credit: (c) Jeanne Grunert.