There are so many people discovering the joys (and pitfalls) of gardening this year! Whether you are cleaning out your vegetable garden or getting perennials ready for the cold, fall garden tasks can be just as important as your spring prep. Here are some tips to get your garden for winter.

Clean, Weed and Fertilize

Pull out annuals; decaying plants can harbor diseases or bugs. Weed and turn the soil while it is easy to work with, this will save you some effort in the spring.

Test and Amend

Take a soil test (usually available though a local university extension or at hardware stores) and see if you need to make any adjustments to your soil. Once the garden beds have been fertilized, cover them with fallen leaves. Put a mulch layer around trees and shrubs to protect them from freezing.

Plant Bulbs & Trees

Who doesn’t love seeing the first flowers pop up after a long winter? Fall is the best time to plant those spring-blooming bulbs in your yard or planters.

Transplant or replace Shrubs and Perennials

Trees and shrubs that have outgrown their areas, or need to be replaced, may be safely transplanted this time of the year. Planting in early fall will give plants time to root before the ground freezes. Bulbs can be divided, opening up the opportunity to control their size and location.

Plant cover Crops

If you have a large vegetable garden or annuals on a slop, you could plant cover crops like mustard, peas, or clover in fall to prevent winter erosion. Then turn them over into the soil in spring to add the nutrients.

Trim Away

Cut back and shape shrubs, trees and plants, such as hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons. Be sure to look up the best time to trim your plants, some use the dead plant as protection in the winter and prefer to be trimmed in the early spring.

Winterize Plants and Trees

Bring potted plants inside. If you planted new trees this year, you might need to protect them from the winter elements. If you live in an area with heavy snow or wind consider tying up the limbs on your evergreens.

Preserve Your Herbs

Don’t forget to dry your herbs or freeze them in oil using ice trays. Herb vinegars and oils are also a great gift-giving idea for the holiday season.

Prep Hoses and tools

Disconnect and store all hoses and sprinklers. Insulate all exposed pipes and exterior water faucets to prevent them from freezing. Take the time to clean, sharpen and oil garden tools, as well as clean and service lawnmowers and weed eaters.

Don’t forget your Lawn

Sprinkle grass seed over any patchy areas to allow your lawn to establish before winter.

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