Gardening is relatively straightforward in spring and summer when rainfall is plenty, sunlight is nurturing, and evenings are cool. But when winter rolls around, gardening becomes a whole different ball game. You won’t be able to water and fertilize plants at the same frequency. You will need to make accommodations for extreme cold weather that could kill your outdoor plants, and you might find yourself fighting off a new variety of plant diseases.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to keep your garden thriving during autumn and winter; with these winter gardening tips and tricks, your garden will keep growing regardless of the weather.
Choose Plants That Can Handle Cold
Unfortunately, if you decide to fill your garden with exotic plants that need year-round rainfall and humid environments, your garden won’t survive the winter. Instead of choosing any plants that catch your eye, look for plants that can thrive in cold weather.
Winterberry, Siberian iris, Siberian spruce, snake plant, lenten rose, and silver maple are just a few plants known to thrive in cold climates.
Get Cold And Frost Blankets
Cold and frost blankets are also known as row covers. These blankets are designed to protect plants from frost and freezing wind and help control temperature and regulate moisture. However, not all of your plants will need these blankets. You will only need to cover seasonal plants and frost-sensitive plants.
Garden frost protection will help sensitive plants survive winter without damage. With frost blankets, you won’t need to choose hardy plants for your garden.
These blankets can also help you extend growth seasons by keeping plants warm and protected during late fall and early spring. There are also pest control and protection benefits when using frost blankets for vegetation.
Insulate Plants Properly
Having frost protection blankets won’t help much if you aren’t using them right. It’s essential to ensure plants are insulated adequately by draping the blanket over and then gently securing the bottom around the stem of the plant.
The blanket must provide a layer of insulating air while rapping heat in. Be sure to avoid damaging leaves during the draping step.
Keep An Eye On The Weather
It’s crucial to pay attention to the weather to know when your garden might need a bit of extra care. If the weather turns bitterly cold, you might want to cover some plants with an additional insulating blanket. Otherwise, you can opt for double-layered blanket products.
You can also add straw or mulch around the base of plants to improve heat retention around the root.
Uncover Plants On Warmer Days
Unless you are caring for fruit and vegetable gardens, it’s wise to ventilate plants on sunnier days by removing blankets. Allowing plants fresh air and direct sunlight on warmer winter days will boost plant health and prevent excessive moisture build-up that can become a problem.
Water Your Garden Less
If you decide to water your garden with the same frequency as you would during summer, your garden could ice over, and all your plants could die. As a result, reducing watering frequency and minimizing the amount of water is essential.
Your plants will still need to be watered, but too much can be fatal for the health of your garden. More often than not, it’s best to water your garden once every week or two. It’s also wise to only water plants on warmer winter days.
Use More Mulch
Adding more mulch at the base of all your plants is the best way to retain heat and keep plant roots safe from frost. Even if it seems unnecessary, cover all plant bases with more mulch or straw. The mulch will sink down over the winter, and your beds will look healthy when spring arrives.
Don’t Fertilize Plants Too Soon
Many beginner gardeners think that fertilizing plants in winter will substitute nutritional needs that might stem from a lack of water and warm sunlight. However, fertilizing outdoor plants in winter risks overfeeding, leaches nutrients, and negatively impacts the plant’s dominant period, which is essential to overall health.
Instead, avoid giving your plants fertilizer or plant food of any kind until late fall and early spring, when plants exit their dormant period.
Increase Lawn Mowing Height
When it comes to protecting your lawn during winter, the best approach is to increase lawn mowing height to allow longer blades of grass. If your lawn is longer, it will be more capable of retaining heat and moisture.