Autumn has arrived, which means that now is the ideal time to prepare and protect your garden for the upcoming winter season. Winter officially begins on Dec. 21, so there’s still time to shelter your garden from freezing temperatures and the first (dreaded) snowfall.
Quinns Landscaping, a Rapid City landscaping business owned by Tanner Quinn, specializes in residential and commercial landscaping; sprinkler system installation and maintenance; and residential excavating. The Quinns landscapers want to help you get your garden ready for winter with the following tips.
“One of the most important tips is to understand the climate you live in,” said Quinn. “You need to be realistic about how cold it’s going to get, when it’s going to get cold, and what plants can survive in that climate. South Dakota winters can be harsh, so it’s essential to take steps to protect your garden early on.”
First, gardeners should compost. Composting can include leftover summer vegetables and dead foliage, but you should never compost diseased or pest-infested plants. If you compost in the fall, you’ll have a richer garden come spring. You may already know this, but your last time mowing for the year will be in autumn, and you should pull any weeds in the yard beforehand. Hoses should be brought in, taps turned off, and tools inspected and properly stored so that they’re ready for the next season.
A very important tip: Gardeners should cover plant containers that will remain outdoors this winter to prevent damage from precipitation, freezing or cracking. Stainless steel, aluminum, tin and copper make strong covers, as do exterior grade plywood boards. It’s also a good time of year to clean out any other planting pots that aren’t in use, to prevent them from collecting bacteria or mold.
“If you really like having a garden year-round, you can make it happen by building a cold frame for vegetables to grow in during the winter,” said Quinn. “That way you can enjoy fresh vegetables all year round.” You can also protect your boxwood trees and broadleaf greens by outfitting them with burlap sacks during the coldest parts of the year.