Getting Your Garden Ready For Winter

David Trammel's picture

Its that time of year again, and I came across this article from the Guardian

Along with the normal mulch and chop back, it also talks about ways to protect shrubs and trees too (wrap young tree trunks with a tree wrap to protect from splitting).

What things do you do?

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

Every spring we take out all the houseplants. My wife is the green thumb in the house and we have lots of indoor plants. These all go out to the front & backyard come spring, and back in every fall. We usually add a little soil and clean them up each time too. Sometimes we mix in some compost to the soil mix. We brought them back in about three weekends ago.

This past week we mulched the garden bed and flower beds. We do some raking -our neighbors oak dumps tons of leaves on us. Usually just the alley and the back some. The final leave drops we leave on the backyard to overwinter and clean it up in the spring. Anything we rake goes on the compost or brush pile. That's about the extent of it for us.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Leaf mulch is the biggest thing for me. I collect from the neighborhood. Sometimes I rake neighbor's yards to get lots of leaves. Two blocks away on the edge of a park people rake and some bag the leaves, which I just cart home.

The other thing is I bring in all the metal cages, rebar supports, and even a big arbor on which I grow annual vines. A lot of metal scrapping goes on around here and sometimes people will take anything they can get-- like the metal end of a water hose I left slung over the fence or my neighbor's built in gas grill! Yep, I've had rebar taken, too. So metals get put away for winter.

I'll need to bring in my little tangerine tree, see if I can find spots for a couple mandevillas and maybe one pepper. I know I still have plastic pots and cell packs out back that I should have protected from sun all summer, but did not. If there is any hope to use them again next year, they need to be put away out of the sun.

I'll want to collect orange milkweed seed that has been promised to others, and start some echinacea seed in pots, and make sure certain perennials are marked because I have trouble remembering where things are expected to come up again once spring returns.

That was a good article, David.

I collect (or rather I have my surly teenager do it) all the neighbors' leaves. I don't throw away soil fertility.

I also made a deal with a local small landscaper. Denny mows plenty of lawns and in the fall, his grass clippings are well mixed with chopped leaves. He drops pickup truck loads in our driveway. It saves him the effort of taking the mixed leaves and grass clippings to the municipal center. You may have someone close by to do the same.

Finally, in the fall, I also stop and get those big brown kraft bags of leaves left along the side of the road. You can stuff a LOT of those giant bags into a Ford Focus Sedan when you use the passenger seat, back seat, and trunk.
I've done this for fifteen years now and I have never once had anyone, including the police man cruising by, stop and ask me what I was doing. I do make sure I leave the area neat when I pick up the big kraft bags. Once I've dumped them, I recycle the bags. Or they can be used as an underlayment under mulch or they can be burned or shredded for compost.

Teresa from Hershey

ClareBroommaker's picture

I see leaves on the ground and they just look so "delicious to" me! It used to be rare for us to get bagged leaves because we have alley dumpsters for yard waste, and most people just put them in without bags. We don't have curbside pick-up of bagged leaves.

But down by the park, people started doing their raking all at once and it is more leaves than will fit in several dumpsters, so they bag. Last year while I was at work my mate brought home 60 bags. Yep, I use the bags for underlayment in the spring in areas where grass invades the beds. Our soil gobbles up both leaves and paper bags. What I put out last fall and spring is long incorporated into the soil by the microbes, insects, worms etc.

That's a good really idea to ask mowers for their takings in the fall. I used to have a couple mowers who brought grass clippings in summer, but I think they finally went to mulch mowing. That leaf and grass mixture from the last mowing of the year is just ideal.

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

I got this in my email today from Radix the permaculture/sustainability group who published the Toolbox for Sustainable City Living. Looks like a fun event. Happy Halloween!

"Compost your jack-o-lantern at the post-Halloween pumpkin smash!

Each year, hundreds of tons of pumpkins end up in the dump after Halloween, taking up landfill space and contributing to climate change. Don't let yours be among them! Come to the pumpkin smash and turn your jack-o-lantern into compost fertilizer!

On Saturday, November 9th the Radix Center will be hosting a pumpkin smash event from Noon to 3PM. We'll be "smashing" pumpkins into the compost pile and turning them into fertilizer for food gardens in the South End.

We'll also be pressing apples to make fresh cider, so come on by to have some juice, toss some pumpkins, and visit our chickens! This is a totally free event.

The Radix Center is located at 153 Grand Street at the corner of Warren St. in Albany.
Email for more information."

Blueberry's picture

So we are not talking of the rock group. Might try saving some of the seed

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

Nope, not the rock group. Collecting the seeds is a good idea.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I was going to offer to collect spent pumpkins on a neighborhood internet group, but a chicken rescue(!) owner asked first. That's legit and I could probably collect chicken manure and straw later anyway.