How To Prep Your Garden For the Cold Months

Over the past year, many of you put your heart and soul into your garden. Millions of people took up gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and according to the National Gardening Association, 67% are growing or planning to grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits in 2021. So with autumn and winter just on the horizon, you may be wondering how to protect your plants for the cooler months ahead. Below, Garrett Magee offers his top tips for green thumbs to keep their garden in peak shape through the fall and the depths of winter.

  1. Take stock of your garden in the fall- Fall is a good time to look at what has done well this year in your garden and what hasn’t to make changes for the next planting season. At the end of the season when your perennials are done blooming, trim them and make note where they are so you can recognize them when they begin sprouting next season.
  2. Tune in to the weather in your area- Prepping your garden for cooler months will depend on where you live. “If you live in a cold winter climate like me in New York, you’ll want to make sure all your gardens and planters get a good layer of mulch to insulate your plants.” says Magee.
  3. Clean it up- Take some time to prepare your outdoor plants for the cooler months by tidying up. “Remove any invasive weeds, trim any dead leaves, and dispose of diseased or pest-ridden plants and plants that have diseases or bugs. This will help reduce problems for next planting season,” says Magee.
  4. Plant cold-hardy vegetables that can survive frost- Make sure to plant some vegetables in the fall that tolerate cold. Fortunately, that includes some you might want to throw into your daily smoothie. “I recommend planting and harvesting plants like beets, kale, parsnips, and spinach later in the season, because they are tolerant to a light frost,” says Magee.
  5. Bring your herbs inside for the winter- Birds fly south for the winter, groundhogs hibernate, and some plants, such as herbs, thrive better indoors. “If you want to access your edible garden during the winter, bring it inside. While some herbs like basil will survive the first frost, they generally don’t do well in cold temperatures,” says Magee.

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