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How to Care for Your Garden in Winter

Spending extra time and energy to protect your garden is beneficial to keep it healthy growth, and wait for the planting season in next spring.  Regardless of whether there is snow and cold temperatures or milder conditions in the winter in your area, timely winter preparations will bring benefits.

Most gardeners will grow vegetables and fruits in summer, doing with annual flowers and vegetables, thus a clean garden is important to start a new growing season. Once we finish harvesting fruits, we should get rid of old vegetables, their roots and leaves, to improve the quality of soil for next year’s plantation. Some illness and pests can survive in winter with some plants, which means that they can stay on old stems, leaves and roots for several months and then start to act in next spring. Therefore, it is recommend to dispose all garden remnant in the end of growing season.

Some cold crops, like collard, will become sweet when suffer frost. But we still need to use some blanket plant covers to protect their root stems from frost. This fabric covers allow light to filter in but prevent cold, wind and pests outside, used to cover plants over night and delay harvest time within low temperature. Traditional protective covers, transparent insulated structure, like cold frame and pop-up greenhouse, also can extend growing season. These simple covers enable light to penetrate in and, simulate greenhouse and create protective warm environment.

Annual vegetables, planted in garden, are ceaselessly require lots of nutrition. Therefore, the soil tester is a necessary tool to decide how much fertilizer needed to add into soil, so that your garden can have a healthy state in next spring. If the soil has pests, which have survived after winter, bringing to you hassles and effecting your autumn plants.

Normally, once the perennial plants shrivel in the first frost, we need to cut the plants back to the height, a few inches the stem from the crown. Clean and dispose remanent to prevent illness and pests. Perennial plants, like coneflower, black-eyed Susan and ornamental plants, their seed heads can make a different scence in winter and feed birds. Or you can place upside down extra stems to dry them inside in autumn.

In north low-temperture states, we can add straws, withered leaves or pine needles, which can prevent soil undergo unpredictable frost-melt cycle in early spring or the end of autumn. In warm climate, we should continue to clean and monitor illness, pests and other pressures.

Healthy ornament don’t need too much protection in winter. However, the ability of cold resistance depends on dormancy, so let the nature do its own work. Under all weather conditions, stop to apply fertilizer, while water slowly and stiffen shrubs. To stimulate new growth, avoid pruning and extend hibernation.

Some plants defoliate in autumn, but keep evergreen leaves. Those common evergreen plants, like cypress, oriental arborvitae and latifoliate trees, and acid bushes, like azalea and camellia, spend on winter with good hydration. Evergreen leaves lose moisture in winter sun and dry wind, but roots in frozen soil cannot get those moisture. So, before the earth gets frozen and after other bushes have lost their leaves, water evergreens a final and full watering. Manuring and pruning in later season will stimulate new fragile growth, so avoid it. In warm climate gardens, continue water limitedly as evergreens go through their dormant months.

Many container plants, including tender herbs, are easily adapted for indoor winters. These plants also go through a period of dormancy, so limit water and fertilizer, as you do this outdoors. Cut plants as needed to keep size manageable and treat pests with natural botanical pesticides before they enter the plant. Once the temperature stays below 10 degrees overnight, you need to move plants indoors. Once frost arrives, bring hardy container plants into sheltered areas, such as unheated garages and basements. This protects the roots but allows the plan to experience complete dormancy. In this dormant state, these hardy plants don’t need light, so it don’t need to be placed in window or added supplemental lighting. For plants growing in grow bags that are forced outdoors in winter, insulate the pots with straw, burlap, blankets or even bubble wrap, then place them in a protected area.

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