Prepping your yard for a long cold winter
Well, it’s that time of year again. Fall is almost past and winter is just around the corner. That doesn’t necessarily mean your gardening work is done. If you plan to have a spring garden, now is the time to spend preparing for the next growing season. I have a list that I go through to make sure that all areas of the garden are covered and completed before the arrival of cold weather and freezing temperatures(which unfortunately is soon).
It is important to pull up all annuals that have died, cut back your perennials and remove all fallen leaves from the area to use as mulch. Too many leaves can retain water that could lead to root rot in your perennials and also attract pests. It is also an awful mess to clean up in the spring.
Late fall (about a month before it usually freezes) is the best time to fertilize your lawn because it’s hungry! It’s been slurping nutrients out of the soil all summer to grow leaves and there’s not much left to eat. Fertilizing in the fall will help the roots survive hibernation and wake up quickly in the spring. A quick start in the spring will help prevent disease and weeds. Fertilizers like Scott’s Winterizer is specifically formulated for a feasty fall feeding.
Save your Seeds
Retain the seeds of all the vegetables and flowers you want to keep in your garden for the next growing season. I keep them in a dry, air tight container (stored in a dark, cool place) until I am ready to plant them.
Rake up all dead plant material, cuttings, twigs, weeds, and leaves and compost them. They just cause more of a mess to clean up in the spring.
Last Chance to Water and Fertilize
Make sure to water and fertilize any perennials in your garden before the first freeze.
Give your trees one last good soak this fall before you put the hoses away or have your sprinklers blown out.
If you have an underground sprinkler system, it is important to have it blown out and shut down for the winter. Not doing this can cause burst lines and broken fittings and can be a big mess to fix in the spring. You can contact your local irrigation company and have them come out to do this.
Protect any vulnerable perennials in your garden from severe winter weather by applying a layer of straw over them and wrap them in burlap. Mulching with wood chips or pine straw is also a good defense from the bitter cold of our Calgary winters.