Getting your garden ready for winter: To-do list

Here comes fall, a season that can be both loved and hated (as our gardens go into hibernation phase). And it may seem like there's not much gardening to do, but don't rush to that conclusion because there's still plenty of work to be done in your garden. Your garden still demands attention! That's why we've compiled a list of tasks to complete before winter arrives.

Harvesting and preservation

If you've been fortunate with the weather this year, you probably have some late-season crops waiting to be harvested. This especially applies to apples, pears, cucumbers, and other late-growing plants.

And if your harvest has been bountiful, you'll need to think about preserving it to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the next growing season.

Pest control

This is a crucial stage that should never be neglected. Ignoring pest control at this point could lead to a face-off with them next spring! Given that spring brings a plethora of young, vulnerable plants that haven't yet built up their immunity, pests can pose a significant threat. After their winter hibernation, these hungry critters will eagerly feast on your young plants. To prevent this from happening, it's essential to thoroughly treat your garden in the fall.
Another advantage of dealing with pests in the fall is that you don't need to be concerned about the impact on fruit production since all the fruits have been harvested. Therefore, you can utilize more potent treatments to ensure the complete eradication of all pests.
The sooner you do this, the better. There's no need to wait until October, as by then, pests may have already burrowed deep into the soil for their winter hibernation.
And to ensure your plant's health, you can always utilize the Plant Doctor feature. This will not only make things much easier but also save you valuable time.

Fertilization of trees and shrubs

Larger plants, especially fruit-bearing ones, have depleted the soil beneath them over the season. It's essential to replenish the nutrient supply. During the fall, avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as they promote leaf and shoot growth. Instead, focus on potassium and phosphorus. Organic fertilizers are also a good choice if you prefer organic gardening. You can even find specialized "fall" (or “autumn”) fertilizers in stores.

These tasks are best done as early as possible, so don't wait until October when pests may already be deeply burrowed into the soil for their winter slumber.

Remove unnecessary plants

Despite tomatoes being perennial plants, in gardens, they are grown as annuals. Therefore, in the fall, after harvesting, it's essential to remove all unnecessary plants from your garden before they begin to rot. Clear your beds and inoculate with beneficial bacteria 👇

Fill the soil with bio-preparations

If during the summer season, you've noticed the development of fungi or harmful bacteria in your garden beds, it's advisable to treat the soil after harvesting to eliminate this problem for the next season. This way, you'll introduce beneficial microflora that will only benefit your garden.

Perform sanitary pruning

This is a very important step for the health of your garden.

The topic is extensive, so stay tuned for updates as a comprehensive article on autumn sanitary pruning will be released soon.

Conduct moisture-charging irrigation

After a hot and dry summer, trees require ample moisture-charging irrigation. The soil beneath them should be thoroughly moistened to a depth of 3-5 feet (1-1.5 meters). For young trees, 10 gallons (40 liters) of water are needed, for mature trees, 13-18 gal. (50-70 liters), and for large specimens, over 26 gal. (100 liters). It's important to remember that such irrigation can only be done after most of the leaves have fallen from the trees.

Prepare unheated greenhouses for winter

Don't delay in cleaning and preparing unheated greenhouses. The end of September and the beginning of October are the absolute deadline for this task.

After clearing out the plants, you'll need to turn over the soil in the greenhouse, disinfect the space, ventilate it, carry out minor repairs, and clean all surfaces and supports.

Sow cover crops

This is an excellent method, especially if you're a supporter of eco-friendly gardening.
By planting cover crops in early fall, they will not only germinate but also grow well, protecting the soil from weeds, aerating it, and serving as an alternative to complex fertilizers. With the onset of cold weather, you can either incorporate them into the soil or leave them until spring.

Plant bulbs

September is ideal for planting bulbs that will bloom in spring and the first half of summer.

Prepare sunny beds with loose, nutrient-rich soil in advance, and then plant the bulbs to a depth of three times their height. Keep in mind that bulbs tend to multiply, so leave some extra space for each specimen.

Prepare container plants for wintering

If you have container plants, it's time to take care of them. Some will need to be brought indoors, while others should be sent into a restful state in a cool, dark place. Some may be transplanted into the ground and securely covered. In any case, leaving them outside past the end of September is not advisable, as sudden nightly frosts can damage their root systems, which will be entirely unprotected in small pots.
Also, don't forget about those perennials that you planted for your design's sake but won't survive the winter. Be sure to dig them up, plant them in pots, and move them indoors.

Preparing planting material for next year

At this time, it's also essential to collect and prepare seeds from annual plants. This will significantly reduce your future landscaping expenses. The key is not only to gather the seeds but also to dry them, place them in paper bags, label them, and store them safely until spring.

As you prepare your garden for winter, it's also an excellent time to look ahead to next year. Consider what worked well this season and what didn't. Take notes, draw diagrams, and make a list of any improvements or changes you want to implement in your garden layout, plant selections, or gardening techniques.
Additionally, use this time to educate yourself further about gardening. Read books and articles, attend workshops, and connect with fellow gardeners. The more knowledge and skills you acquire during the offseason, the better prepared you'll be for a successful gardening year ahead.
While fall may signal the winding down of the gardening season, it's a crucial period for ensuring the health of your garden and preparing it for the challenges of winter. By following these autumn garden tasks, you'll not only protect your garden from potential threats but also set the stage for a vibrant and productive garden in the seasons to come.