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20 fall hibernation hints

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.


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