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I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
The peak gardening season may be over, but there are still important tasks to do in the garden before winter arrives. As we enter fall and approach winter, it’s time to start prepping our garden beds to go dormant. Properly putting your beds to rest sets your garden up for success when it awakens refreshed in spring. In this episode, gardening expert Resh Gala (@reshgala) tells us everything you need to know to properly put your garden to bed for the winter! This episode is a bit of a plant geek fest, so prepare yourselves, plant friends!
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
Before diving into winter prep, it’s important to take time to reflect on your past gardening season. Consider what went well and what didn’t, and make notes so you remember for next year’s planning.
For me, I’ve been growing calendula for herbal remedies and having a prolific harvest of Sungold cherry tomatoes. Resh, on the other hand, reflects on trying new varieties like lemongrass and midnight Roma tomatoes. Just like what we did, taking time to celebrate achievements and assessing challenges sets you up for more success next season.
There are a few key reasons Resh properly prepares gardens for winter:
Here are Resh’s tips for putting your garden to bed for winter:
Carefully remove any dead, dying, or obviously diseased plants and discarded debris from beds. Discard this material; do not add diseased plants to compost. Removing sources of potential disease and pests helps minimize issues flaring up again next year.
Cut back any remaining healthy plants at soil level rather than yanking them out, roots and all. The intact roots left in the ground provide nutrients for soil organisms over winter.
Replenish your beds by layering 2-3 inches of compost or other organic material over the surface. Do not mix it into the soil. Let the compost sit atop the soil where it will slowly seep nutrients down over the winter months. Alternate compost types each year for diversity.
If you have time, consider planting some fast-growing cover crops like winter peas, oats, or hairy vetch in late summer or early fall. They’ll establish before winter sets in, then can be chopped and dropped to enrich and protect soil.
Cover bare soil with materials like straw or leaves to insulate soil and prevent erosion.
Garlic and spring flowering bulbs like tulips can be planted in fall for an early spring treat. Mulch them once sprouted.
To prevent weather damage, shut off and drain any hoses or irrigation systems. Also thoroughly clean garden tools before storing them for the winter. This removes material that could harbor disease.
Give tools a thorough cleaning before storing them for winter to prevent disease issues.
The key, according to Resh, is viewing your garden as a partner, listening to its needs and supporting it through seasons of activity and rest. Here are additional things that are good to know for your winter prep:
Implementing these simple practices ensures that you and your garden are energized and thriving when spring rolls around again. The steps you take now ensure your beds transition smoothly into winter and awaken healthy and vibrant again next growing season.
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