Even though summer is in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your garden. October is just around the corner, and before we know it the first frost will set in. Frost makes plants more vulnerable and susceptible to disease and insect infestations. All plants need shelter. Most perennials will survive through the winter; however, they still require some tender loving care. With these quick tips, you can get your garden ready for the cold winter.
Cold Weather Planting
Below is a chart of what to plant. As usual, make sure you check seed packet information for specific planting instructions.
Leafy Greens Root Veggies Brassicas Squash
Spinach Carrots Broccoli Butternut Kabocha
Arugula Turnips Cabbage Acorn Spaghetti
Chard Radishes Cauliflower Buttercup Delicata
*Plant between August and October 1st*
Pull weeds, pull dead plants, and start cleaning up the yard. Rake leaves and put them in your compost pile. Don’t have a compost pile? Till leaves into dirt; every day or two, till more leaves into the dirt.
Cover the Ground
Covering the ground is very important for winter. From flowers to vegetables to trees, it’s important to keep the ground a steady temperature through the colder months.
If frost becomes an early problem, cover crops with blankets or plastic sheeting to keep warm air in.
What to Use:
Mulch is your best friend! Using mulch – bought or homemade – will help keep the ground/soil an even temperature even after snow and ice hit the ground.
To make mulch use old plants (not infected with disease or pests) such as dry leaves, dry grass clippings and wood chips.
Cover crops are grown to protect and enrich the soil. Cover crops help manage weeds, protect the soil from rain/run-off, add organic matter to soil, and suppress soil disease and pests.
Plant cover crops side-by-side, or use one for the whole garden. For example, I use clover over the entire garden during the cold season.
Crops like red clover, buckwheat and turnips are great covers. You can also plant varieties of kale that withstand colder climates.
Hay or Straw
Use only if rodents are not a threat. While these cute critters will help keep pest population low, they are difficult to get rid of when it’s time to plant for spring.
CJ LaRose is a Senior Supervisor and Bookkeeper at The Healthy Grocer. She is passionate about gardening and living a healthy lifestyle.