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11 Fall and Winter Gardening Chores

The first frost does not mean an end to gardening chores. Fall and winter gardening chores means less clean-up and healthier soil for planting ease in the spring. Put the gardening gloves back on and bring out the hoe and rake for fall and winter gardening chores.

  1. Clean the garden of dead vines and plants. These may also be placed into the compost pile.
  2. Compost and manure may be worked into the garden in advance. This will shorten time needed for planting in the spring and also allow the manure time to decompose to limit root burn.
  3. Consider planting a winter cover crop. Plant grasses, grains or legumes during the winter to improve and protect the soil. Cover crops also protect the land from wind and water erosion.
  4. Dispose of unusable fruit in a compost pile; however, diseased fruit should be burned to prevent the spread of disease. Fruits remaining on the tree or bush through the winter can carry parasites and disease to new fruit the following summer.
  5. Feed the birds to keep the eco-system in balance. Birds rid the garden of insects organically.
  6. Gather and dry seeds for spring planting. Be sure to label the seed packages for identification purposes in the spring.
  7. Now is the time to order seeds to take advantage of discounts offered and to assure seed availability. Many garden centers and catalogs offer early-bird specials.
  8. Place straw or hay mulch over root plants to aid in winter survival. Select mulch that is plentiful in the region.
  9. Root vegetables may be harvested throughout the winter. It is best to mark the plants for ease of location after the first snow fall.
  10. Test for magnesium and phosphorous content to determine if the soil is lacking in nutrients. Take the results to the local cooperative extension for recommendations.
  11. Winter is time to prune trees and bushes while the sap is down. The leaves are gone and dead branches are easily identified. A well pruned plant produces more fruit.

*Photo courtesy of RyeGrass84 by Jason Johnson at Flickr's Creative Commons. 

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