20 fall hibernation hints

By Frank Ferragine
Citytv garden expert Frankie Flowers lists what you should do to prepare your garden for winter
Ever heard that an end is just a new beginning? That’s how I feel about late fall in the garden. Yes, the season may be coming to a close, but it’s also an opening for future growing success.

With a little hard work cleaning, preparing, pro­tecting and planning, you’ll set the stage to start your garden with a clean slate next year. Here’s how:

Clean up

[ ] Remove dead and/or diseased plants from the garden.

[ ] Pull out weeds.

[ ] Harvest and store cabbage and root vegetables.

[ ] Send annuals to the compost.

[ ] Rake fallen leaves off the lawn, removing any diseased ones. Use remaining dried leaves for compost or use your lawn mower to shred them up for mulch.

[ ] Clean out fertilizer spreaders.

[ ] Winterize your lawn mower with a good cleaning and remove the fuel.

[ ] Tuck in tools, such as spades, shovels and trowels, by cleaning off any hardened soil with water and a brush; wipe metal surfaces with an oily cloth to prevent rust.

[ ] Go one step further and give your flower beds a fresh edging. It’s one less task you’ll have to do in the spring.

Prepare for the coming cold

[ ] Sow a cover crop of winter rye or wheat in vegetable gardens (available at some garden centres and farming stores) to prevent soil erosion and add nutrients; till it under next spring.

[ ] Continue watering trees and shrubs (especially evergreens) until they freeze up to help minimize moisture loss throughout winter.

[ ] Add shredded leaves, compost and/or composted manure to amend and improve your soil.

[ ] Empty, wash and store away dry terracotta and clay containers in your garage. On apartment balconies, turn pots upside down and cover them with a waterproof tarpaulin.
Protect your plants

[ ] Save your plants from hungry deer with an application of non-toxic Skoot.

[ ] Look at what’s at risk should heavy melting snow and ice fall from your roof and protect those foundation plantings. Take precautions like binding uprights with twine, pruning back long branches and building A-frames over
globe cedars.

[ ] Wrap the trunks of young shade and fruit trees with commercial tree wrap or burlap to protect them from bark splitting caused by southwest injury (also known as winter sunscald).

[ ] Remove soil and foliage from dahlias, canna lilies and gladioli, let the
bulbs surface dry and store them at cool temperatures (5 to 10°C) in dry vermiculite, peat or sawdust.

[ ] Cover tender perennials and roses with clean leaves or hill them up with soil.

[ ] Mulch around new plantings.

Plan for next year

[ ] Reflect on this year’s garden while it’s still fresh in your mind (taking photos helps). Write down your successes, failures, goals and budgets to help you strategize for next season.
Amanda Westrheim

Amanda Westrheim

CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd.
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