7 Tips to Put Your Garden to Bed for Winter


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Giving your garden a little TLC now will pay you back next spring -- and for a long time to come.

Giving your garden a little TLC this fall will pay you back next spring — and for a long time to come. Preparing soil for winter protects it and makes spring planting easier.

These seven jobs will get your garden in shape for winter:

1. Keep a few crops going

Depending on where you live, you can keep some vegetables growing into and maybe through the winter, especially if you buy varieties recommended for winter harvesting. Typical winter garden crops include:

  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi — a hardy Asian green also called spinach mustard
  • Kale
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mâche
  • Arugula
  • Carrots
  • Leeks

2. Clean up

Pull spent plants from the ground. Prune those that will stay. Rake up debris to eliminate homes for plant diseases. Put healthy plant material in the compost. Double bag diseased or infested plants and dump them in the trash. Composting diseased plants spreads disease.

Pull up and store tomato cages, stakes and ties. Gather garden ornaments and store them too.

3. Spread compost

Compost feeds microbes that nourish your garden. Spread compost or mulch or both — first compost, then mulch — atop the soil in order to:

  • Prevent soil loss to wind and rain
  • Protect and insulate it from freezing
  • Conserve moisture
  • Promote good soil structure
  • Prevent buried weed seeds from germinating in spring

When you’re ready to sow seeds, “use a garden hoe or a rake and make a line in the mulch and plant your seeds directly in the soil,” says The Prairie Homestead.

4. Plant a cover crop

Seeded into the soil in fall, a cover crop protects the soil in winter. Gardeners turn cover crops into the soil in spring.

Not everyone has room for a cover crop, but if you plant one it delivers a multitude of gifts, such as:

  • Suppressing weeds, reducing your work in spring
  • Preventing soil erosion, helping retain precious topsoil
  • Keeping soil microbes alive and ready to spring into action with spring planting
  • Adding rich “green manure” when turned into the soil
  • Enhancing soil’s ability to hold water, breathe and resist compacting
  • Helping control garden pests by supporting populations of beneficial insects
  • Looking a whole lot prettier than bare dirt

Common cover crops include various grasses — oats and rye, for example. Legumes like clover and vetch (in the pea family) deliver extra value: They pull nitrogen out of the air so that, when turned into the garden, they renew soil robbed of nitrogen by other garden crops.

Ask your local cooperative extension office which cover crops work best where you live.

5. Think of the birds

Birds will love foraging for flower seeds in your garden this winter. They particularly love sunflowers, berries, black-eyed Susans and coneflowers, according to HouseLogic.

6. Gather seeds for next year

You’ll save money and ensure your favorite plants will be around next year by harvesting their seeds this fall:

  • Save ripe seeds from disease-free plants only.
  • Don’t bother with hybrids. Even if the seeds do germinate, they won’t reproduce the plant you want.
  • Put seeds in envelopes or glass jars. Store them in a dry place and keep them free from fluctuating temperatures. They may last a year or longer, depending on the plant. GardenWeb has many seed storage ideas.

7. Get a head start on spring

The work you’ve done in fall will make it easy to get going on your spring garden. If it’s nearly warm enough to plant and you want to hurry things along a little, warm up the ground by raking mulch to one side, exposing the soil to the sun.

For more tips, read “5 Ways to Save on Gardening” and “Enjoy Great Food From Your Garden — and Save Money.”

Which gardening secrets work in your area? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 8 Ways to Get Your FICO Score for Free

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,902 more deals!