No matter where you are in Canada; you’ve probably experienced a bit of early winter this year. This is just Mother Nature giving us an earlier reminder to get our gardens ready for when winter comes. Here is a great checklist to follow to get your garden in tiptop shape for the spring season.
Tidy up your garden by raking leaves, removing debris, cutting back dead foliage, and remove any weeds. A quick, easy, and less painful way to collect the leaves from your lawn is to use your lawn mower to mow up your leaves. This way you can efficiently collect and dump your leaves to let sit for next year’s mulch. Raking your lawn free of leaves not only cleans up your yard but you can use these leaves as mulch for your flowerbeds or shrubs or throw them into your compost for the spring season. There are so many benefits to keeping your lawn clear and clean of leaves; The Spruce has a great article that explains why it’s important to rake you lawns each fall. https://www.thespruce.com/why-necessary-to-rake-leaves-off-the-lawn-2132361
Be sure to plant any spring bulbs before your first frost or dig up summer bulbs to store for the winter. Bulbs need to be planted at least six weeks before the ground freezes. They should be planted when the ground is cold, if bulbs are too warm they may not bloom the next season. Bulbs need well-drained soil. If the ground is overly wet and soggy, you run the risk of your bulbs rotting. Bulbs also do best in full sun or under deciduous trees.
Mulch after a hard freeze. This keeps the ground at an even temperature to prevent the ground from heaving and pushing the plants out of the ground or having the ground thaw and plants prematurely sprouting. This is where you can use your last year’s leaves that you collected as an excellent mulch to keep your soil protected and frozen. Make sure you’re rotating your collected leaves each year by using the old leaves from last year as mulch and letting the new leaves you’ve gathered this year to sit and decompose. Mulch also adds organic matter to the soil and naturally deters weeds.
If you have rose bushes or other sensitive trees and shrubs, it’s a great idea to cover them up to protect them from the harsh winds, rains and snow of the winter. Many garden centres sell specific covers for the winter, but you can also use garbage bags, burlap, landscape fabric, or large cardboard boxes. Make sure you cover young tree’s bark to keep the bark from freezing and splitting and rodents from destroying them during the winter as well.
Be sure to turn off your water, so your pipes do not freeze and burst during the winter. Clean, sharpen and store any tools for the winter, so they are not damaged or rust.