Time to Prep Your Winter Garden

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your winter garden grow?

In a season with final summer camping trips, back-to-school nights, BBQs and autumn house projects it’s hard to prioritize your gardening. You’ve worked so hard all summer to keep it alive and a little more effort will ensure a continued healthy harvest.

To help, we’ve put together our favorite fall/winter gardening tips for you to make this season a breeze. Follow these simple steps and you’ll continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor all winter long!

Harvest your fall veggies: Vegetables ripen and flowers bloom like gangbusters towards the end of summer. Harvest all ripe produce a couple times every week to keep it coming! Here are some awesome recipes for all that squash!

Preserve your yield: Freeze, dry, pickle, or can some of your harvest for winter. Freeze your berries whole for smoothies all year long or smash the fruit into sauce and freeze for jam-making in winter when a hot kitchen is welcome. Share the love! Take extra fruits and veggies to neighbors, friends, food banks, senior programs or homeless shelters.

Sunflowers: Mature sunflowers allowed to develop to seed become natural bird feeders as the weather gets cold. Enjoy watching the spiraling symmetry as the flower’s disk unfolds as the seeds develop. Collect some seeds for planting next year’s sunflower harvest! There are enough to go around.

Get your beds ready: Prevent pest and disease problems next year by removing fallen fruit and plant waste on the ground that can become home to slugs and disease spores. Add a layer of compost if you are planting a winter garden.

Plant Preparation. Fall and winter harvests require a little preparation up front so that plants are large enough to withstand the inclement weather. Start your little seeds indoors and transplant your Brussels sprouts, hardy cabbages, spinach, kale, mustard, cilantro, and turnips to your freshly composted beds. Time for leek transplants too, they will mature in early spring.

Garlic: Plant garlic in a sunny spot in rich, well-drained soil amended with compost. Separate heads into cloves and plant the cloves with the pointy end up, a couple knuckles deep and a palm width apart in all directions.

Here’s an awesome year round planting and harvest schedule from Oregon Tilth

Bulbs: Plant daffodils, tulips, and other spring blooming bulbs after temperatures cool. October is a good month for this!

Cover Crops: Grow your own fertilizer and improve the soil’s texture by planting cover crops where you plan to garden next year.

Divide & conquer: Divide hardy perennials to expand your garden beauty or to share with friends and neighbors. Now is the perfect time to move your plants to better locations. This is also a good time to plant new trees and hardy perennials to get them established before winter sets in.

Want more info? Metro has got your back, check out some more great fall/winter gardening tips here.

We can’t wait to see your silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row! Happy gardening!!