It’s often difficult to get motivated for garden work after all has been harvested, deciduous plants have lost their leaves, and chilly weather has set in. But a few chores completed now will make your spring work much smoother.
In your vegetable garden, make sure you remove all weeds before they set seed – better to deal with them now than in the spring. It will pay to prepare at least one or two planting beds for early spring use…this will allow planting before the soil will allow tillage. I work in alfalfa meal, fish meal and kelp, thoroughly mix and rake semi-smooth – then in the spring, just a light raking is all that is necessary before planting.
If you still have six to eight weeks before your soil freezes, you can plant or transplant woody ornamentals and perennials. Be sure the plants receive adequate water throughout the fall – once the soil freezes, they won’t be able to take a drink until spring. Mulch perennial beds and roses well, but wait until the ground is close to freezing…the point is to keep the soil from cycling back and forth from freeze to thaw.
Round up and clean all your garden tools; sharpen hoes and shovels with a file, treat wooden handles with oil, replace broken or worn out tools. Power tools require simple, but very important winterization procedures; consult your owner’s manuals or talk with your mechanic. At minimum, put the required amount of a fuel stabilizer in each gas tank and run the motor to distribute it throughout the system.
Fall is a good time to take stock of this season’s successes and failures; sometimes the idea that seemed so good in the spring didn’t quite make it through to the fall. Make any necessary changes to the garden plan on paper and note which areas will need alterations next season. Make a list of topics that you should, or would like to, learn more about this winter.
One of the best results of planning for the spring garden is warding off the winter doldrums and cabin fever. So cozy up to your heat source and dream on!