If you have your very own gardening space, you must be gritting your teeth to protect it from harsh weather. Well, a gardener’s work is never over! And when it’s time to prep your raised garden for the next spring, winterizing is what you need to do.
You’d obviously want your crop to remain unharmed and ready to rise and shine before the next fall. All you need to do is get yourself a few tools and a couple of hours to mark your vegetable garden invulnerable till the next bud time. After all, the way you manage your raised beds in the fall will determine their yield in the spring.
Here, I have collected some pro tips for winterizing raised garden beds and saving your garden bed in the long run. So put your garden to bed by giving it a read.
What Is Winterizing A Garden?
After reaping the fruit of your efforts in the summer harvest, it is important to protect your garden beds when nature is on its next route. Winterizing a garden is nothing but sheltering it from rough weather by retaining its organic layer. This is the objective behind winterizing the garden beds, in my opinion.
How To Winterize Vegetable Garden Beds?
Winterizing your vegetable garden bed boosts soil health and prevents your crop from certain diseases. To achieve this, here are a few steps your little garden would want from you before the winters settle.
A Clean-up is Mandatory
Removing the debris of dead plants and weeds helps prevent your garden bed from disease and insects. Welcome the spring with healthy and weed-free soil by doing so. You can cover a weed carpeted area of your raised bed with cardboard or black plastic if weed has already taken over it. Winter would be enough to suffocate and devastate their sprouts. This always works as a hack for in my case!
Create the Soil Bed
This is the right time to grab a spading fork and do some soil turnover. Soil levels may reduce after cleaning up the mess. So level it up by creating a soil bed. Spreading around 2 inches of compost over the soil-bed happens to be a great moisture protectant and erosion resistant. I usually spread shredded leaves as they do not blow away and act as overwintering areas for larvae.
Give it a Mulch!
Mulching helps protect the soil by acting as an organic layer. This prevents rainwater from washing off your soil amendments which can take place to an extent of the root zone. Also, raised beds are vulnerable to drain off readily. To cope with that, you need to remove the mulch just when the spring is fresh.
Planting the Cover Crop
Repel weeds and maintain soil health by planting a cover crop. Sowing them in late summers is a favorable time especially for clover, rye, and vetch. They take carbon from the surroundings into the soil. This way, they nutrify soil.
Push the tulip bulbs around 6 inches after spreading them on the soil bed. Then you can spread your cover crop like rye on the raised bed. Watering it for three consecutive days is also recommended.
How To Winterize Planter Boxes?
Why ignore those adorable clay and wooden planters if you are winterizing the whole garden bed? I would like to share my practice of protecting the planters.
Have a look:
- Relocate them for sun exposure. Make sure they remain protected from winds.
- Let them sleep under the frost blanket (propylene fleece) for temporarily frosty weather. Uncover them when freezing temperatures are gone so that they may not get overly insulated.
- It is recommended to water the soil in your planter box when the temperature rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- There is no need to disturb those dormant beauties by watering them. Just protect them from winter rain to keep their homes free from water.
How To Improve Garden Soil Over The Winter?
You can give a boost to your organic garden over the winters by:
- Digging out the perennial weeds, mulch over empty beds, and all you have to do is wait for the spring to come.
- Leaves play a great role in protecting the soil from frosty scars. You can also mulch your soil with leaves as they are free of raking.
- Growing cover crops like peas leave nitrogenous nodules making the soil reusable for the next crop.
- Heap your garden bed with compost. This will make it get nourished from the depths.
How To Mulch Flower Beds For Winter?
Mulching a layer around 4 to 6 inches deep makes the perennials pop out in spring. If you have planted young seedlings, you need to clear them in spring. This will let them show up with ease after a good sleep.
Do I Need To Cover My Raised Garden Bed?
I recommend doing so, as the heavy rains may damage your crop. This is necessary to protect your raised bed from nutrition loss and crushing. Keeping them covered facilitates the microbes to complete their soil decay processes through the winter until your crop is ready to show up in the spring. Also, it’s a crucial part of protecting your garden bed from weeds.
Covering Garden With Plastic For Winter
Using bare plastic is not a good idea to cover a winterizing garden as it’s not breathable, cannot retain moisture, and can destroy the plant material in frost. If you don’t have any option other than using plastic, use a plastic garbage bag but you need to remove the covering every morning.
Propylene fleece is a good option to cover your raised garden bed. It’s available by the name of the garden fabric, garden quilt, or frost-protect in the market. I’ve been using these garden fleeces for a long time and found them lightweight, breathable, and great soil insulators. They also don’t block the entry of light.
Your journey from raising to winterizing requires insulating raised garden beds for a fruitful harvest. It takes a little effort to winterize the garden but saves you from getting stuck all spring. I believe if you nurture your beloved crop by trying the prior mentioned tips, a time will come when you’ll be walking happily in your grateful garden. Until the next harvest, happy gardening!
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