Gardening Tips for Cool Weather

There are simple but important tips that can keep garden healthy all through fall and winter and prepare it for the growing season in spring. Here are some tips:

Add Mulch
If the garden is in an area that’s subject to a frost/thaw cycle, it’s important to add mulch to newly planted beds. This should be done after the soil has frozen, as this will keep the temperature constant. If the temperature is allowed to fluctuate, the expansion and contraction of the soil might heave a plant right out of the ground and destroy its roots or expose them to freezing temperatures. The best mulch to use for winter are pine needle, straw and salt hay. In climates that are warmer, this sort of mulching isn’t necessary.

In early spring. the winter mulch should be gently raked away from the crowns of the plants when they begin to bud.

Top Dress The Lawn
As the weather cools, it’s a good time to top dress the lawn, especially if the soil is poor. The top dressing can be a mix of peat, loam and sand. The gardener should also fill in dips and hollows in the lawn at this time to make the lawn even for mowing.

Attend to the Herb Bed
The herb garden also needs attention in cool weather. After a few years, sage becomes leggy and needs to be cut back to the main stem or replaced with new plants. Mint will need to be restrained, and annuals like dill and sweet basil will need to be replaced. Chives can host unwanted grass roots and should be lifted out in clumps, divided and replanted. All perennial herbs should get their last cut in the autumn, so their new growth can have time to harden during the winter.

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