If you’re looking for ways to maintain your garden all year round, there’s no need to get overwhelmed. My mom’s an avid gardener and loves it, but she doesn’t spend all winter out in it, fretting over a few weeds or dry soil. In fact, leaving your garden alone in the winter is not a bad idea. It can help the soil “do its thing” so to speak, so that when spring rolls around, it’s in its natural, preferred state for growth. If you’re an avid gardener, or just a newbie, read my tips below for some ways to maintain your garden all year. Most likely, it’s easier than you think and doesn’t require too much work.
1. Prevent Moldy Plants
One important way to maintain your garden all year is to take preventative action. What does this mean? Well, for starters, when you buy plants, make sure you inspect them. Take them out of the pots and check out the bottoms. If you see mold, put it back and pick up another. Buying and planting moldy plants will ruin your soil, along with any other plants you plant with them. Plus, the actual moldy plant itself won't thrive and will eventually die.
2. Check Your Roots
When you purchase plants, also be sure to take a look at the roots. They should be very thick, white in appearance, and should be abundant. You shouldn’t see dried out, small roots, or barely be able to see them. If you do, this is one sign they might be bad. Always buy plants with fertile, abundant roots. This will ensure good growth and health of your plants.
3. Beware of Bugs
As you know, pests are one pesky little issue about having a garden. Keep an eye on bugs by being aware of common signs. Small holes in leaves are one way to tell if something is eating your plants, but what do you do about it? Well, first, you should know that it’s not just the aesthetic appeal of your plants they are ruining, but also your garden’s health. Viruses and bacteria can spread throughout the whole plant, even just through a few little bites from a bug. Many insects actually transport viruses from plant to plant, harming your whole garden. Be sure to do you research when it comes to bugs and plants. The best way to avoid this is to plant items that don’t generate a large amount of pests.
4. Seasonal Clean-ups
You know how you clean out your closet in spring and fall? Well, do it to your garden too! In fall, be sure to get all your leaves out of your yard, along with pruning anything back for the winter. If a shrub or bush needs trimming, go ahead and do it before winter takes over. You might also cut any plants back that don’t have anymore blooms on them, or that aren’t annual plants. In spring, you should make sure everything such as seeds and crops has been planted after the last frost to ensure it won’t die from a last minute frost and that you’ll have good growth in time for summer. It’s also a great time to start applying mulch and fertilizer, along with caring for your lawn now that winter’s dry spell is over. Doing these seasonal clean-ups can help ensure that viruses and bacteria don’t spread from moldy, old, or poorly-cared-for plants.
5. Water Smart
You’d be surprised how many people cause plants to mold or die by overwatering them. This truly isn’t necessary. Always check to see how much water plants before you water everything the same. Don’t just “water and go”. Some plants need very little water, while others need daily doses. Each plant is different, so do your homework. This will keep your garden thriving all year and will keep you from having to pull up moldy or dead plants.
6. Choose the Right Fertilizer
You’ll also want to be sure you choose the right fertilizer for your garden so it can maintain itself the best way possible. Too much fertilizer can burn the roots of plants, which reduces their ability to absorb water. Any plant that is starved of nutrients will eventually die. This can also transfer over from plant to plant. If you give a plant too much fertilizer, it will also hinder its growth, or cause it to crowd out other plants through too much growth. Many people choose to create their own composts instead of using chemical fertilizers for these reasons. To decide what’s best for you, you can contact your local extension agency to get accurate information about your soil, and what you need to do.
7. Leave It Alone
When winter rolls around, it’s best just to leave your garden alone and let it hibernate. Anything that is still alive that you don’t want to die may be transferred to a pot and kept in a dark place such as garage. It might die a bit, but will probably come back when planted again in the spring. Other plants won’t come back, so talk to your local gardening specialist at a store or nearby nursery to find out what’s easiest to maintain all year round.
I’d love to hear any tips some of you might have for how you keep your garden spiffy all year! Any thoughts?