Now that Fall has set in, the first frost has been on every gardeners and farmers minds.
When will it happen? How can I save my plants and protect them during the winter?
Well with these simple steps your garden will last for years to come.
To protect your garden you should pluck any and all of the fruits and vegetables and bring them inside, for some that can be hard to do because there could be a lot in that harvest. That’s okay, fruits and vegetables can be preserved by canning which when done carefully can be very successful.
To protect your garden you should add at least a 5 inch layer of Mulch all around the base and exposed roots of the plant. In the winter a common issue in Maine is the freezing and thawing cycles.
This step is important because the mulch will help maintain moisture and give insulation.
The best type of mulch can be found in your backyard, in the fall the trees shed their leaves and their roots get covered to protect them, by shredding up the leaves that you rake up and using that in the place of an expensive brand of wood mulch you can save money, time, and your garden.
Depending on what kinds of plants you grow will determine whether or not you have to water them in the winter. That includes keeping a close eye on plants in pots. If there is plenty of rain over the winter then this step can be skipped. Moist soil will actually hold more heat then dry soil, irrigating soil can help provide the plants with what is necessary for their growing roots. Around this time you should also pay close attention to your local news so that you have a day in advance to irrigate your plants before a Hard Freeze.
Any pots that are not zoned for your area during the winter should be brought inside or put in an insulated shelter. If you do not have potted plants then this step can be skipped, but you should know what your zone is just in case. You can find out what your zone is at the USDA plant hardiness zone map, Maine ranges from zones 3 to 6. An example of what you should look for is if you live in zone 5 the plant pot should be able to handle zone 3 because the pot itself will get colder then the landscape. Lastly If there are any fountains, or a pool in your backyard it is important to remember that the cold weather can damage these items. Fountains should be drained completely and either covered or put inside. It is recommended that pop up pools be completely cleaned, drained and dried before they are taken down and put inside, however, some leave it up. If it is left up through winter it should be drained until there is only a quarter of water left, the latter should be put away to prevent accidents and a cover should be placed on the pool so long as it can be easily cleaned off as snow build up can also damage the pool.
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