Getting your garden ready for next year
It’s that time of year again. Time to get your garden ready for next year! With a few simple steps, you can have a beautiful and productive garden in the spring. Keep reading to learn how to get your garden ready before winter’s frost settles in.
This simple process will ensure you have an easier time getting started next spring.
Clean and clear your garden entirely
First, remove any dead or dying plants from the garden and dispose of them responsibly (check with local authorities for proper disposal methods). Remove weeds by pulling them up firmly or using chemical weed killers. It is generally important to avoid using weed killers post-winter as they could damage your plants and make them less fertile for next year’s growing season.
If you want to deal with weeds naturally, one popular option is vinegar. For natural weed killers and insecticides, some gardeners swear by a vinegar-and-soap solution. Mix vinegar and dish soap in a spray bottle, then spray the mixture on weeds during the sunniest time of the day.
Prepare your soil for next spring
Then, get down on all fours and examine the soil below you closely. If it looks dusty or sandy with no moisture in sight, then add a layer of compost over the top and till it in.
How to make compost yourself
Composting is a great way to reuse your kitchen scraps. It’s also a sustainable solution for making quality topsoil, and if you live in an urban area, it can give you the garden of your dreams on even the smallest of lots.
Compost piles are not complicated to make or maintain; they need three things: air, water, and organic material- which is anything that was once living like vegetable peels, eggshells, or leaves from plants. The idea is to turn these materials over so they decompose quickly by giving them access to oxygen and moisture from groundwater or sprinklers.
Compost piles should be about two feet high with plenty of room for airflow all around them so that nothing gets smothered.
Where to acquire compost
You might also want to invest in some compost if you don’t have access to compost deposits. Compost is the ingredient that will make or break your future garden’s health and productivity.
You can buy compost from a nursery, or it’s often available to purchase by the bag at home improvement stores.
How much do I need?
You’ll need to apply compost at rates from 5-50 tons per acre or 1 to 10 five-gallon buckets (about 20-25 lbs/bucket) per 100 square feet. The compost depth should range from less than one and a half inches up to one inch deep. More than that is uncommon and not recommended.
A yard with good, quality soil typically has good drainage and can handle high levels of compaction. The best soil for gardening has a crumbly texture that feels like flour when poked with a finger. When a handful of soil is released from the fist, the clumps should readily break apart into individual particles.
Start Planning for Next Year
Now that you have ensured the health of your garden bed, it’s time to plan out what you want to grow next year. Write down a list of vegetables or other kinds of easy plants for growing in your region.
You don’t need to start your garden from scratch. If you have any plants leftover in the winter, it is okay to leave them there or transplant them into a new bed. These leftover plants can be your “insurance” for next year’s crop!
Transplanting is a great way to save money on plants.
Transplanting is the process of moving an entire plant from one place in your garden to another. Here are some tips for transplanting:
- Dig up the plant, being careful not to damage its roots too much. If you want, cut off any diseased or dead branches that might be above ground before planting them back into your new soil bed.
- Pack dirt around the root ball and water thoroughly; this will help settle your transplanted plant into its new home and make sure it has enough moisture for at least a week while it recovers from being uprooted.
Transplants can take time to become established- sometimes months- so be patient!
Protecting Your Garden
Another thing you should consider is protecting your garden from the winter’s frost to help maintain soil moisture, which can become scarce in cold weather.
There are many different types of covers to choose from:
- Plastic or fabric row covers
- Heavy-duty polyethylene tarps with reinforced edges (often used for extensive gardens)
- Snow fences, which help to withstand winter winds.
No matter what cover you choose, make sure it is placed on the garden bed before frost and removed after the last danger of frost has passed in springtime.
If your area does not have a natural growing season (like an indoor window box), you will need to purchase a cover or make one from things you have around the house!
Finally, apply a layer of mulch over the top (a good combination is straw and grass clippings) to protect your garden bed from winter’s fros to keep the soil warm for next year while also keeping it moist and pest-free.
As winter approaches, it is essential to protect your garden from the cold.
The great thing about gardening is that it’s always there for us, no matter what time of year. It doesn’t matter if we’re trying our hand at growing vegetables in the summertime or planting flowers in pots during winter – there are plenty of ways to get our hands dirty and make the world a brighter place.
Now that you have your garden ready for next year, it is time to explore some of the most beautiful colors of the season. As the leaves change, it’s a perfect time to drive through the countryside and enjoy the fall colors. Our Fall Foliage Drive guide is full of helpful advice for traveling with your family. You will find the best places to capture stunning fall colors and scenic drives across the country, which offer opportunities for viewing some of America’s most beautiful scenery. Happy Fall!