Every fall we have to prepare for winter, change the thermostat, check the antifreeze in the car, pull out the winter clothes, so it’s only fitting that we winterize our gardens too.
Winterizing the garden will not only keep your plants alive during the cold season but help your plants to grow pretty colorful flowers in the spring.
Follow these tips to ensure a beautifully flourished garden come spring.
- Mulch and cover. Add mulch to help your garden retain warmth in the cold months and cover any plants that are sensitive to frost. This is especially important if you have newly planted flowers that have not yet established a comprehensive root system.
- Unhook your hoses. Detach hoses from your house before a hard freeze to prevent cracked facets or broken pipes. Make sure they are sealed into the wall or buy a cover to provide insulation. Winterizing garden hoses and faucets extend their lives, so depending on the area you live in try and do this before the first freeze. Place the hose on a hanger inside a garage or shed to protect it from harsh winter temperatures.
- November is the time to plant trees. In general, it’s assumed that spring is the best time to plant trees and shrubs, although it is an excellent time to plant, fall brings many more advantages. Transpiration is low and root generation potential is high. Also, the moderate temperature makes it much more comfortable on the trees and less likely to be damaged by extreme heat. Plant trees with moist ground and keeps them heavily mulched to protect them from the cold. Bracing the tree or sapling will also make sure it grows straight and prevents a winter storm from uprooting it.
- Bring plants indoors. Non-hardy plants need to be potted and brought inside, out of the elements. It is also a good idea to supplement some carbonated water into their diet. Doing so ensures they are receiving all the macronutrients they need which aren’t provided from tap water. (My dad used to always add a little Sprite or 7-up to his cut flowers as well.) If you allowed your plants to vacation on the porch this summer its time to bring them back inside for the winter, the change could be a bit traumatic so there are a few things you can do to make for a smooth transition. Make sure the windows are clean, so they receive adequate light, add ceiling hooks for hanging plants and bring them in before nighttime temperatures dip below 45 degrees.
- Mist indoor plants when the air gets dry, especially if they are native to humid regions. Heating and air units are known for sucking the moisture out of the air, while it’s true that winter air is drier, plants experience a slower rate of growth in the cold weather. Less water is needed to keep them hydrated, adding a humidifier can help your plants as well as your skin.
- Spread lime. Protect your garden from worms, slugs, and aphids. Keep them from feasting on your winter crop, as well as seedlings, by applying First Saturday Lime at first sighting. FSL works as a desiccant and dries out the insects, their eggs, and larvae. The best part is it is non-toxic and safe for organic gardens.
- Plant spring bulbs. Tulips and daffodils need to be planted in the fall after the summer heat is gone. The ideal time for spring bulbs is six weeks before hard ground-freezing frost. The bulbs need time to root and establish, get them in soon, as they will be the first ones to greet you come spring!
Winter preparation may involve a little extra work but it will ready your garden for longevity and once spring comes around you will be happy you put in the extra care. Using First Saturday Lime and following these winterizing tips will tackle winter head-on.
Jana McDaniel is the CEO of First Saturday Lime, an organic pest control product that started production in 2018 and is now part of the GroGroup network of distributors, which serves 25,000 independent lawn and garden retailers in the U.S. Jana graduated from Duke University and grew up in the limestone industry which gave her the inspiration to create First Saturday Lime.
Be watching for my upcoming DIY post on how to use First Saturday Lime to make your own chalk paint. To snag free shipping on FSL, use promo code shipme4free.