Gardening skills | Preparing your garden for the winter

Think gardening is only for the summer and spring? Not anymore. When the leaves start falling onto your yard, then you are receiving a message from nature. Winter's coming. You don't have to let your garden go into dormancy till the earth warms up again. If you really love your garden and want to keep it alive even in the winter, then you have to know exactly what to do. These tips will keep your flowers and trees in good condition even when the cold weather sets in.

Know your zone

Your hardiness zone helps you determine the minimum temperatures expected in the area, and the plants that are able to grow there. Ensure you know when the first killing frost would hit your area, and the depth of the frost line. That will help you plan your garden preparation schedule.

Additionally, your zone will also determine how you maintain your bulbs. If you are in a very cold climate, ensure you dig up the bulbs deep enough until the frost danger is over. If your zone temperatures won't be as cold, you can plant new bulbs. However, these bulbs need to have established their roots before the cold kicks in.

Create a lot of mulch

Mulch doesn't just block weeds and curb their growth, it also does a pretty good job of keeping the soil warm and moist. Laying the decaying plants on the ground creates more heat for the soil when the matter decomposes. That way, the roots and bulb would be protected from the frost and survive the cold. Moreover, leaving the soil bare causes it to lose water a lot faster. The dry fall and winter periods would starve your plants. So ensure you create a thick mulch layer before the winter.

Get plants that can survive the cold

Have a talk with your plant wholesalers about the kinds of plants that love the winter. There are a number of them that grow best in the cold periods. Annual plants like flaxes, sages and flowering cabbages can look great even in the winter. Use plants of different heights and colour to create a dramatic effect on your garden. If you love your veggies, try planting broccoli, spinach and cauliflower. They can thrive even in the cold climates.

Winter proof your containers

Ensure that the material you use for your containers won't crack when the temperatures are freezing. Avoid thin plastics and ceramics, they won't stand the freezing and thawing. Use materials such as metal, fiberglass or even hollow logs.