Now is the time to tidy up the garden before shutting it down for the winter. Hennepin County master gardener Jamie Sledd has these helpful tips for putting your garden to bed in a healthy state:
As you would during the growing season, yank out weeds and cut back out-of-control vines or other plants.
REMOVE DISEASED OR INFESTED PLANTS
A plant that, for instance, has a heavy dusting of powdery mildew on its leaves should be cut off at the base and taken out of the garden completely. The same goes for plants overrun with tiny pests. You’ll want to throw them in the trash and keep them out of your compost pile because things like mildew can survive the winter and affect other plants it touches.
COVER WITH COMPOST AND MULCH
Once everything is cleaned out, it’s a good idea to put compost down now to get things off to a good start. It’s also a good idea to put a couple inches of mulch down on top of everything to protect your perennials.
COVER TREES AND PLANTS
Wrap tree trunks to protect them from hungry animals or harsh winter conditions. Make sure you wrap high up on the trunk. Little creatures like rabbits can climb up on the snow and nibble at exposed bark high up on the tree. You can use paper wrap, special plastic tubing or chicken wire or other mesh fencing material.
You’ll also want to cover roses or any tender perennials that might not be hardy enough for Minnesota’s Zone Four climate.
Continue to water your trees, lawn and garden until the ground is completely frozen. Continue to follow the rule of thumb: Apply about an inch of water a week. The drought has made the ground so dry that a couple rainfalls here and there won’t soak into the ground.
October 12, 2012