Winter is an ideal opportunity to enjoy the starkness of your garden. Without the colorful flowers of summertime, with trees and shrubs losing their leaves you can see the natural shape of your garden. Preparing your garden for winter will also help prevent mold. Here are five tips.
Clean up the beds.
After a couple of seasons of growth, your beds will be quite messy, with dead flowers and leaves covering them. The thought of clearing them might be a daunting one, even in small gardens, but by breaking the task into smaller areas, or even clearing different beds on different days. The first stage would be to remove all of the vegetation from the beds, but leaving any bulbs that will re-grow. Once cleared, a fresh layer of compost to the surface.
Test your soil
You can get a soil test kit from most gardening or hardware stores. They are useful to see how your soil has fared during the summer, and for finding out if it is deficient of certain nutrients. The kit will test for potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and sulfur, as well as the lead content, and the pH of the soil. The results of the test will determine how much fertilizer and lime to add to the soil, lime being particularly important to add during the winter so that the pH level of the soil can be optimized before planting the following year.
Using the waste
Almost all garden waste can be kept in composting bins, or plastic bags to degrade and be used as mulch the following season. A generous spreading of the mulch over the surface of the beds will help prevent weeds, while also replenishing the nutrients that might have been lost through the growing season.
If you have areas of your garden that you want to keep clear of frost, consider putting raised covers over those areas. A thin plastic sheet a few inches from the ground will allow air flow, but will also keep the temperature slightly higher, enough for the frost not to have an impact on the soil.
Adding agricultural crops to your garden can have a beneficial effect. Using crops like vetch or rye during the winter will help the soil microbes stay active during the winter months, meaning that at planting time, your soil will already be in good condition. Cover crops can then simply be rolled down or tilled into the soil just before they begin to seed, which should coincide nicely with the start of the planting season. For maximum efficiency, these cover crops can be planted a few weeks before the end of the season, meaning that as your plants begin to die, these crops will start to replace them, keeping your garden working all year round.
By following these tips, you can prepare your garden for the winter, and prevent mold from becoming an issue. Give us a call if you need help with mold removal before the colder months hit.