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As wonderful as gardens are, they are somewhat time-limited. In spring and summer, you can enjoy all the benefits of spending time outside with friends, gardening in an effort to create a truly spectacular space, and even throwing a party or two to celebrate the warmest seasons of the year. Even when fall sets in, there are still wonders to be enjoyed in your outdoor space; watching the leaves change and enjoying the last of the year’s sunshine before winter garden prep.
Unfortunately, winter is the season that tends to cause most people to have to abandon their gardens, as the weather turns and makes time outdoors an unpleasant proposition. You may currently be planning your annual winter retreat from your garden as a result, but before you go, there are a few tasks you may want to attend to…
#1 – Plant cover crops
Cover crops – such as rye and clover – can help to prevent soil erosion over winter and add nutrients to the soil, so they are well worth using. It’s generally thought that cover crops should be planted at least one month before the first serious frost; there should still be enough time to do this in most regions, but it’s definitely a task that should go right to the top of your to-do list.
#2 – Protect your garden tools
Garden tools are always susceptible to rusting, but the lack of use over winter means you need to take extra preventative steps at this time of year. The best way to do store tools over winter is as follows:
- Carefully dry your garden tools with a microfiber cloth – this should help ensure you get every last drop of moisture.
- When you’re sure the tools are dry, store them in a covered container filled with sand.
#3 – Cut the lawn short and remove leaves
The best approach for your lawn over winter is to cut the grass as short as your equipment allows and remove leaves as and when they accumulate. Some people add fertilizer to help maintain good lawn health over winter, but some experts argue this can be harmful, so it may be best to consult a professional for advice on whether this would be an appropriate choice for you.
#4 – Winterize your water sources
Water sources – such as your hose pipe, water butt, or sprinkler system – are vulnerable during the coldest month of the year, so it’s important to take the appropriate steps to protect them. Take the time to insulate your hose, cover your water butt, and go through steps to winterize your sprinklers in order to ensure these items are able to work exactly as they should right from the get-go next spring.
#5 – Prepare your soil for spring
Although most people reserve this activity for the spring, fall is a great time to dig in soil amendments like manure, compost, bone meal, kelp, and rock phosphate.
By going through the steps above, you can be sure that all parts of your garden will be as protected as possible – so you can get right back to enjoying your outdoor space the moment the first signs of spring arrive.
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