How To Prepare Your Garden For Winter


The days are getting short and cooler for many people in the northern hemisphere. With these shorter days, we eventually end up with frost & snow. Let’s take a look at how to clean up your Canadian garden before the snow flies.

Preparing Pots For Winter

We all love the look of flower pots or a container vegetable garden. But overwintering these pots can be difficult if you have a cold winter. Pots tend to crack if left to winter themselves due to the freeze-thaw cycle. This is particularly true for cement, ceramic, or terracotta pots that have a porous texture.

When you have a porous pot the best option is to allow them to dry out as much as possible. The less water we have in the pores of the pot, the less likely we are to have cracked. After everything is dried off you can simply bag up the pots in a garbage bag or plastic to help keep out any moisture. 

For plastic pots, our issue tends to be how brittle the pot can get. This means placing the pot in an area that is permanent until the temperatures rise. If they are in a high-traffic area it is likely that they will get bumped and crack due to the cold.

Plant Debris For Winter

There are two methods you can use here and the one you choose is going to be based on what you like the look of. The first method is a total clean-up of all plant debris from leaves, to plants and even the soil. If you are looking for an organized look then this is the route you should be taking. 

For your plant debris try cutting the plants off at the base rather than yanking the entire root system. The roots being left in place are important for microbe and soil health. The roots will decay and leave channels for air and water movement through the soil. For the leaf, clean up consider making leaf mould, a great addition to the garden.

The second method would be to leave everything in place. This allows for the plants to act as snow capture during the winter months. This will ultimately increase the soil moisture for when you are sowing seeds in the spring. Leaving plant debris also gives beneficial bugs a place to hunker down for the winter.

Mulching Your Gardens

To help protect your perennial roots from frost and cold consider mulching. The key here is to remove the old mulch and compost it. This is particularly true for anyone experiencing problems with disease or pests. These critters tend to overwinter in the mulch and need to be hot composted to remove the threat. Adding an insulating layer for new mulch helps protect the roots and ultimately the soil. 

Other than that you should always do proper sprinkler winterization, clean off your deck furniture, and of course scoop the dog waste. What is your must-do list for preparing your yard for winter?