Protecting Your Garden In The Winter
While summer and spring are considered our garden’s best seasons, winter, on the other hand, can be your worst nightmare.
Even the first frost, if you don’t guard your plants, might lead to their stunting or death.
Fall is the best time to get out in your garden and secure all your plants. Protect your yard before the winter season hits to prevent frozen roots, winter scald, foliar damage, and death.
While re-mulching and dividing your peonies and other early bloomers can solve some problems, these methods are only sufficient during mild temperatures. During the cold weather, plant protection is a must. Protecting your outdoor plants during winter requires pre-planning and equipment to safeguard all your plants.
The cold season is just around the corner. To prepare your garden before the first frost hits, make sure that you have these tools on hand to protect all your outdoor plants in the winter.
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One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your plants is by using mulch.
Use mulch made with organic materials to enhance the soil once it starts to decompose. Using dried stems, leaves, newspaper, and straw will release nutrients back into the earth. Once autumn begins, spread a new 3-inch layer of mulch around the plant’s roots. Leave at least 1/2 inch of space around the stem to allow air circulation and prevent root rot.
You can also use mulch made of pine straw or wheat. These kinds of materials are easy to remove once you’re ready to bare the soil again, plus it also traps heat well.
Here are some good choices:
To protect your plants from freezing, you can use a simple blanket or a hand frost barrier fabric.
Leave the cover on during the night, but you can remove it during the day.
To ensure that it is most effective, the cover should reach all the way to the root zone. You can also stake or tie them down, but resist the urge to bind the plants as it can cause foliar and stem injury.
Take a look at these:
If you have smaller evergreens like boxwood, you can cover the pots with a jute sack.
The jute sack can buffer against the cold. Your potted plants can still survive in a sack padded with leaves or straw that prevents the roots from freezing like these:
You can also build a simple and temporary cold frame or greenhouse by bending metal rods into loops and sticking the ends into the ground, across your garden row. After that, place a row cover fabric over the loops to enclose your plants.
This will help trap heat and block out frost. Here are a few ideas:
Cloches are removable plastic or glass covers that protect plants from the cold.
There are small ones that can fit over individual plants, but there are also larger ones that can cover an entire row.
Glass cloches are highly ornamental but can be quite expensive. You can opt for cheaper ones made from plastic, but since they are lightweight, you need to stake them into the ground to prevent them from getting blown away by the wind.
You might like these:
If you can’t find an old blanket or burlap to cover your garden, you can also use bubble wrap.
It is not necessary to wrap the entire plant — but make sure that the root area is fully covered and shielded.
The bubble wrap can also help trap the heat and keep it within the root zone. Here are a few:
You can warm your plants with jugs filled with water.
Fill any plastic milk jugs with water, then place them in the sun, to allow them to soak up the sun’s heat during the day. Before the sun sets, place the jugs around the plants then place a cover over them.
The water inside the jug loses heat more slowly than the air and the soil. The warmth coming from the containers can help protect your plants from the cold.
If you don’t have any, try these:
Other Tips To Protect Your Plants During Winter
Place Pots On Soil
The rapid fluctuating temperature can cause injury to the roots and can heave the plant out of the pot.
To avoid this, place the pots on the soil instead of concrete or wood. If the pot is on pavement, the warmth from the sun and the drop in the temperature during the night can cause a freezing and thawing cycle.
The Bigger, The Better
When choosing a pot for your plants, choose a bigger container.
The larger the volume of your container, the better the condition will be for your plant. The soil in a larger container will insulate the roots better compared to a smaller pot. Plus, the smaller container can freeze faster.
Plant As Early As Possible
To allow the plants to harden off before winter, plant them as early as possible.
If the plants are healthy and have mature roots before the cold weather, they have a better chance of tolerating the stresses the colder weather can cause.
You might also like: Making Your Own Winter Garden Plan
Add More Insulation
To add more insulation to the pots, mulch them with straw or leaves.
Group The Pots
Group several pots close to a wall or your house. Putting pots together increases the volume and mass of insulation and also protects them from the harsh and cold winds that can cause freezing.
Cover The Plants Before Nightfall
If you’re going to cover the plants, do it before dusk. If you wait until the darkness falls, the stored heat in your garden might disappear.
No matter what type of cover you use, make sure that you extend it down to the soil on each side. Avoid leaving any openings for the heat to escape. You can use stakes to keep the cover in place.
Once the frost has thawed in the morning, you can remove the cover.
Before the first frost, make sure that you’re ready. To protect your garden from freezing, make sure that you have these tools ready.
Do you have any tips to protect your garden from winter? I love it when you share your own stories, successes and failures.
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