How to Put the Garden to Bed Before Winter

This winter, think spring. Spend some time putting your garden to bed properly before winter settles in, and you’ll be rewarded come springtime with a healthy and vibrant showing. From the vegetable patch to perennials to trees, here’s how to prepare everything for a long winter’s nap.

Veggies & Herbs

Plant growth will start to decline before stopping altogether as the days shorten and the temperatures drop, but you can try covering your veggies with sheets on cold nights to eke out the last few goodies from the garden.

  • If you have carrots, leeks, radishes, parsnips, turnips or garlic in the ground, you can harvest them through early winter. If your part of the country gets snow, mark your rows clearly with tall stakes. Use a generous layer of mulch too.
  • If you have tomatoes, bean plants, squash or peas, pull them up.
  • Bring rosemary inside, leave thyme and sage be, and cover parsley on especially cold nights.
  • Weed and de-clutter your garden so everything is tidy before the ground hardens. If you take time to till the soil and toss down a layer of manure or compost, you’ll disturb any bugs looking for a spot to pass the winter and your garden will be prepped for spring too.

Flowers, Perennials & Trees

  • Water well in the fall.
  • Once the ground is hard, cut back perennials to a few inches and mulch thickly.
  • Inspect trees, and remove broken limbs.
  • Small trees will benefit from being wrapped with snow fencing and a layer of straw or leaves.

General Tidying

  • As long as the grass is growing, keep mowing. Rake fallen leaves into loose piles, and then mow them for instant mulch to use on your perennials.
  • Hang your garden hose to dry it out, and then roll it up for storing.
  • Stow garden equipment and patio furniture in the shed or garage.