So it's Friday, it's Northern Alberta, it's October, it's been a long week and you know what fell from the sky? Snow!? That's right, a tiny handful of those soft, cold white flakes fell from the sky, it didn't settle and it wasn't a lot but yikes if that is ever a reminder that the final garden push of the year is here! Yep, I really have to get on with the whole getting the garden ready for winter, if you haven't done so here is your friendly reminder now!
I hear you, i'm actually so darn tired of my garden at the moment I am actually ready to let it go, to be done for a few months. Don't get me wrong this garden, this ground sustains and nourishes our family in so many ways, I am deeply passionate about it, I am so grateful for it but I am also ready for a break from it! However there are some much needed chores that need to be done to get our gardens winter ready and this last final push of energy you can throw into your garden now will pay off in the Spring.
So, i've put together this brief outline of what we will be tackling in the garden and hopefully this provides you with some confirmations, reminders or there was something you never thought of that needed to be done!
Firstly, pull your annuals, dig up your dahlias, harvest and save those seeds! Compost any plant matter you won't be keeping. Ofcouse keep plants you do intend to keep growing, our kale bed is still happy and it is hardy to -15c so we are planning on leaving it a little longer!
Plant your spring bulbs and/or your garlic.
Divide your perennials (such as irises).
Clear the garden and clean up (this can include clearing the beds and just clearing out debris, put summer furniture/items away.
Compost the beds! Once they have been cleared give them a good dose of compost and manure. We sprinkle on several inches and turn it into the bed, we also add a mulch layer of straw or leaves (you can simply use the leaves that fall off any trees in your yard). This should also help keep the soil a little warmer for longer so all those microorganisms keep happy and productive.
We give our lawn a last mow for the season, we don't want it too short for snow so try not to leave this too late. We do rake our leaves to use as mulch in our beds.
If you plan on adding in cold frames now is a good time to put one in your garden, that way it will be ready to go come spring and the area it covers will be snow free. Then you can start some spring crops even if there is still some snow around on the ground outside.
Once the garden has been made all ready, we clean and do tool maintence at this time of year. Give everything a good clean and sharp any blades that need it.
Since we have had frosts, now is your reminder to drain hoses or blow our your irrigation for the year! Oh, you should probably check your gutters too!
So there you have it, a quick, concise guide to how we are prepping our garden for winter. I hope this at least gave you some much needed reminders and that final push of motivation you need to get the garden wound down for the year.
Of course just until January rolls around when the avid gardeners start to get antsy and begin to plan for the whole new season again...