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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!


In this episode, we learn:

  • [05:19] Resh's gardening journey and how understanding soil quality led to her success
  • [07:53] How does Resh balance gardening, extending the growing season, and self-care in her small backyard garden?
  • [09:37] Creating a greenhouse effect in snowy conditions with bent metal or PVC pipes
  • [11:24] Why preparing and “putting to bed” gardens for winter is important
  • [13:20] What are the sustainable gardening practices for winter that you should know about?
  • [16:57] Importance of adding compost to garden beds before winter to improve soil health
  • [19:13] What should be done in spring to prepare the soil for planting?
  • [20:18] Nourish your garden with Espoma Organic's diverse range of organic composts
  • [22:19] Gift a touch of harmony this holiday with Wind River Wind Chimes
  • [25:10] Why cover crops are a valuable addition to regenerative gardening and soil enrichment
  • [28:54] Why it’s easy to grow garlic during winter (keeps pests away, resilient, and is a gardener’s favorite!)
  • [32:09] Why is it important to reflect on the gardening season as part of self-care in plant care?
  • [34:09] Resh’s favorite list of what to grow in preparation for the next garden season (tomatoes and cucumber varieties)
  • [39:59] What kinds of flowers does Resh like to grow in her garden to attract pollinators?
  • [48:19] Pre-order Resh's upcoming book Vegetable Gardening Made Easy later this year
  • [50:52] Where can you find Resh on social media?


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Reflect on the Past Gardening Season

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.


Reasons for Winter Garden Prep

There are a few key reasons Resh properly prepares gardens for winter:

  • Just like people need rest, gardens need a dormant period to rejuvenate the soil and plants for spring.
  • Adding compost, leaves, etc. over winter allows organic matter to break down and nourish the soil.
  • Chopped plants left in garden beds provide food for soil organisms that enrich the soil.
  • Removing diseased plant debris helps minimize disease issues.
  • Covering beds with materials like straw insulates and protects the soil.


Step-by-Step Guide to Putting Your Garden to Bed

Here are Resh's tips for putting your garden to bed for winter:

  1. Remove Diseased Plants and Debris

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.

  1. Chop Down Remaining Plants

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.

  1. Add Compost

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.

  1. Plant Cover Crops

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.

  1. Mulch Beds

Cover bare soil with materials like straw or leaves to insulate soil and prevent erosion.

  1. Plant Garlic and Spring Bulbs

Garlic and spring flowering bulbs like tulips can be planted in fall for an early spring treat. Mulch them once sprouted.

  1. Shut Down Irrigation System

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.

  1. Clean and Store Tools

Give tools a thorough cleaning before storing them for winter to prevent disease issues.


Other Tips for Winter Gardening Prep

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:

  • Leave seed heads on flowers and herbs for visual interest and wildlife food sources.
  • Avoid using plastic and remove any plastic tags and materials from garden beds.
  • Try new varieties each season, like ground cherries or eucalyptus.
  • Grow saffron and garlic in containers for winter interest and early spring harvests.
  • Read gardening books over the winter to get inspired for next season. Resh recommends preordering her new book Vegetable Gardening Made Easy.

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.


Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Espoma Organic

Make sure your plants are all set for the new season! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar-powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.

Wind River Chimes

Bring more peace, serenity, and magic into your home with chimes. Wind River is a Virginia-based company creating premium handcrafted and hand-tuned wind chimes for over 35 years. If you are looking for a new way to grow joy in your life and find a moment of peace, a Wind River chime is the perfect addition to your home or garden. Plus, it's a perfect personalized gift for your loved ones!

Visit and use code GROWINGJOY to receive free engraving on all Corinthian Bells wind chimes.



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