Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Preparing Plants for Winter

In addition to the preparations you have to make to your home for winter, you should also prepare your garden to keep soil and plants healthy until the thaw in the spring.
  • Remove and discard annual plants (flowers, herbs and veggies) or diseased plants
  • Clip green-stemmed perennials back to just above the soil; however, you can leave grasses or tough perennials (like Sedum)
  • Do one last sweep for any remaining weeds and spread compost over beds that need a boost
  • Prune back climbing or vining plants
  • Dig up and remove tender bulbs such as dahlias
  • Rake leaves and use them in your compost bins or mow over the leaves and leave them on your lawn for extra winter protection
  • Lay a 1-inch layer of mulch (evergreen branches, hay, straw, pine needles, bark or tree leaves) on your flower beds to insulate them from winter's freezing and thawing cycles
  • Wrap tender trees or bushes with burlap (to protect them from frost and from animals that get hungry in the winter)
  • Plant any spring-flowering bulbs before the ground freezes
  • Clean tools and bring them indoors if you don't have a shed or garage to store them in
  • Remove and discard plants and the potting soil from containers
  • Clean containers and then store in a garage, basement or shed so they won't crack during the winter months
Other outdoor activities I generally do include:
  • Drain and unhook garden hoses. Roll them and store indoors to extend their life span
  • Turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets and cover the faucets with insulated jackets
  • Sweep off and cover your air conditioner
  • Clean off and store patio furniture indoors or in the garage - if something is too large to be moved indoors (i.e a table) cover it with a tarp to protect it from snow
  • Disconnect the gas from the grill. Store the grill in a shed or garage but leave the gas outdoors - gas should not be stored in closed spaces or near the home
How to cover plants with burlap:
  1. Cut burlap to cover entire plant. Rolls of burlap can be found at most hardware stores - I got mine from Home Depot for around $10 a roll.
  2. Gather burlap loosely around the base of the plant and secure with twine.

  3. Secure overlap ends of burlap with twine or other fasteners to ensure it doesn't fly away in the winter.

How to Clean Pots
  1. Soak dirty posts in a sink or tub filled with warm, soapy water. Add a splash of oxygenated bleach (hydrogen peroxide) to sanitize.
  2. Scrub well with a wire brush.
  3. Rinse pots with clean water to remove soap and hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Set aside to dry.

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