During the summer we garden, landscape and spend a great deal of effort maintaining our outdoor living spaces. But what happens when the leaves start to fall and the weather man starts to use the words hard frost, or even snow? There are still things that need to be done before we are free of our outdoor maintenance routine for the winter. Click through the jump to see some wise words of wisdom from Martha Stewart on prepping your garden for the cold months ahead. Schedule the work over several weekends so it doesn't become overwhelming.
Start with a clean up: Cut down and remove the past season's annuals and vegetables, and add them to the compost pile. Cut back faded or dead foliage on perennials after the first hard frost, and compost. Never compost diseased or pest-infested plants.
Rake up and compost fallen leaves on the lawn, and pull weeds before mowing for the last time.
Before the ground freezes, water evergreens (especially broad-leaved ones) deeply, and spray them with antidesiccants if they are planted in exposed, windy areas.
Cover containers that will remain outdoors to prevent them from filling with water, freezing, and cracking. Clean terra-cotta pots and concrete containers, and store them in the garage or potting shed to protect them from the elements.
After the ground freezes, mulch perennials, evergreens, and newly planted trees; if necessary, protect them with burlap screens to minimize heaving, desiccation, scalding from intense sun, and other winter damage.
Once the garden has been put to bed, bring in garden hoses, turn off taps, and take some time to tune-up tools before storing them for the season.
Thanks to our friends at Martha Stewart Living for the great tips.
Photo from Bill and Colleen's Garden Tour. Check out all their backyard handiwork here.