Preparing garden for winter

We had lovely & warm summer this year. Lot of sun with blue skies. Nice temperatures and perfect weather for beach life and (of course) gardening. Then came autumn which has been long, warm and... well, a bit rainy lately. All together a nice combination I would say. And now, before autumn darkness turns into winter coldness and white "snowness", it is time to prepare garden of Villa Hattarala for this new fourth season. I hope I can guarantee a good and relaxing winter rest for all my green friends and also those small folks underneath.

Garden gloves ready for work
So, garden gloves on and let's start to work!

Most of those seasonal flowers can go already. Remains of these beauties can be put to compost bin and soil can well be recycled on flowerbeds. Empty pots will get a quick wash after which they can go for a rest in the shed. Or if you want why not plant some "winter plants" in them, such as Calluna vulgaris

Garden furniture has to be cleaned and then taken in the shed to prevent any big damages during the winter. If you have any summer decorations in your garden remember to take them in as well. Unless your deco can survive cold and snowy winter. My collage of mixed treasures had to go. Let's see how it will turn out next year.

Collage of mixed treasures
Clean all the flowerbeds by cutting withered plants and remove weeds. It's not necessary to cut all withered plants as they do decompose during the winter and fertilize the beds. They also work as insulators during the coldest season. I cut only the biggest ones and those which looked really dry and dull. The surface of beds can be lightly raked to make it loose and allow it to breath. If needed, use also some special autumn fertilizer and/or garden lime to ensure healthy winter rest for your plants.

The lawn should also be cut although the growth is not so strong any more. If you leave the lawn too long for winter it might get some damages and then you have problems in the spring. At the same time fallen leaves will be ground and will gradually decompose and improve the soil (natural fertilizing). If you grind the leaves you don't need to rake them off but if you don't just rake your garden and add leaves to your compost or put them under the bushes. After cutting your lawn it could be a really good idea to spread garden lime on your lawn also. There are also these special autumn fertilizers you can use. If you live in a house with a fireplace you could even think about using ash to replace these ready-made products (bare in mind what you've been burning in your fireplace as there might be some toxic substances mixed to the ash).

Lawn needs to be cut

The compost bins have for sure been filled many times during the summer and also during this cleaning process in the garden. Now it might be a good idea to go and mix them a bit. Just take a pitchfork and turn the content of your compost inside out and upside down to make sure all is well mixed. You could even cover your compost for winter. Try not to but twigs and other similar hard parts of plants to your compost unless you can cut them into smaller pieces with a shredder. These hard parts don't decompose as quickly and make your compost a mess. I don't have a shredder so I need to take my twigs to a local landfill. Today I loaded them on a trailer which I borrowed from my neighbor and will empty the load tomorrow morning.

Usually all cuttings of trees and bushes should be done early spring. So in the autumn you don't really need to think about this. But there are some plants you could cut now - in the end of growing season. Cherry and plum trees for example. If you cut them too late in the spring some sap might run out of them and they can get dry. I did cut my cherry and plum but just a bit. Took out mainly the dead, try twigs and some root spouts but didn't really reshape them. Sleep well my darlings and prepare yourselves for next summer!

When your work is finished there is one more thing to be done. Clean your tools and arrange them to the shed. It is so much nicer to start working in your garden next spring when your tools are clean and you can find them easily.

Next step is to enjoy autumn and start planning the next season of gardening. Go inside, light some candles and have a glass of wine. You've deserved it!

- Mika -

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