5 Things You MUST Do to Your Garden Before Winter

Don’t just walk away after harvest, these are 5 things you must do to your garden before winter in order to have a great garden next summer!

5 things you should be doing to prepare your garden for the next planting season ohsweetbasil.com

I’m not very sure how I feel about this post. On the one hand I’m the one that told McCormick Gourmet Spices that I wanted to do a post about prepping your garden for winter, but on the other hand this means I have no choice but to embrace the fact that winter is coming and in Utah that means it’s staying for a long time too. Thank goodness I love boots, sweaters and soup, now to only get rid of the freezing cold weather. So today we are talking about 5 things you must do to your garden before winter.

But, back to the post and why I wanted to slow you down and make you do one more thing in the garden before you freeze your buns off all winter (Florida and Arizona, you can just save your comments about 80 degree weather. I’m already crying inside with jealousy). You see, prepping your garden for planting should actually start now and not once you’re getting ready to plant. You want your soil soaking up nutrients and getting ready for a new season all winter long. It’s kind of like training for a race (obviously Cade has now stepped in with his two cents as I don’t run…ever). You wouldn’t ever jump into a marathon without training, no you want to get toned and strong so you can make it through. Your garden needs that as well. So, here’s what you do.

5 things you should be doing to prepare your garden for the next planting season ohsweetbasil.com

1. Weed, weed, weed. Oh, I know you want to throw dirt at me right now, but it’s true, weeding doesn’t end when harvesting starts. You’ll want to go through the strawberries and other plants and remove any weeds so the roots aren’t hanging out and coming back stronger the next year.

2. Kill the morning glory. Don’t we all hate that stuff? Well take care of it now by spraying it and then pull it out, roots and all so that next year it wont come back as quickly or as strong.

5 Things you should do to prep your garden for next season before winter hits ohsweetbasil.com

3. Once you’re finished with harvesting you need to till your soil 2-4 times. Yup. Till up that sucker so that you can send nutrients back into the soil and mix everything together so that once snow or cold weather freezes the ground you’ll lock those nutrients in and help the soil get ready to feed your plants come planting season.

4. And speaking of freezing the ground, water your garden really, really well once or twice before the snow hits. Really soak it well. When the ground freezes it’s going to lock the moisture in there and help produce fantastic soil come spring.

5. Last, but probably most important and ugly, bag up your leaves and throw them on the garden. I know, it’s not pretty and it takes work versus just burning the leaves or trashing them but they are wonderful come spring. Bag them up, let them sit in the garden all winter and come spring till them into the soil, and then till it again a few more times. This creates a wonderful mulch for your garden which of course means soft, nutrient rich soil and in the end a bigger, better harvest. Which is what we all want, right?

5 things you should be doing to prepare your garden for the next planting season ohsweetbasil.com

Once you’re all done with prepping your garden head inside because this is the best time of year (in my humble, but totally correct opinion) to play around with the McCormick Gourmet Spices. The veggies that we get around this time of year really stand out with sauteing, roasting and baking which is an awesome compliment to the warm, spicy, and rich flavors you get from spices like clove, Roasted Saigon Cinnamon, Chipotle Chili Pepper, etc. All of these spices tend to have more herby, earthy, woody and nutty flavors which makes you feel immersed in the season. In fact, one of our favorite things to do is it to go buy a few favorites and simmer them in a saucepan with a little water and half an orange and let our home smell like the season all winter long.

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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31 comments on “5 Things You MUST Do to Your Garden Before Winter”

  1. I take the fallen tree branches and burn them in my fire pit every November and spread the ash throughout my 40×20 ft, organic vegetable garden after hand turning the weeded soil. I also add local well rotted horse manure then cover the garden with thick leaves.

  2. Better don’t till at all and just mulch, will save you all the work, because it will suppress weeds, will keep in moisture, will give critters reason to crawl around in your soil, making it fine, and will add fertility too. All in one days work, and with no back pain.

    • I agree, all that tilling kills off soil biology anyway. My chickens just got done prepping my garden for winter. All that’s left to do is add a thick layer of mulch.

      • Oh how interesting. I’ll have to talk to our parents as they work hand in hand with the head of agriculture for the university on their garden (yes, they split their garden with him as it’s so ginormous) and this information was all verified by him. I’ll keep you posted on what we find out. 🙂

  3. After bagging the leaves, and getting them situated in your garden, poke small holes in the top (maybe 10, about the size of a pencil). This will allow rain and melted snow to get in and helps with the decomposition. It makes it better to till in, and it gets to your roots faster.

  4. Do you leave them bagged up on the garden? Another site recommend mulching the leaves. Our city has a botanical garden that allows you to go and get composted leaves for your garden. Last year I started using the compost for my garden, there are a lot of advantages to using it. The other site recommended a compost bin to compost the leaves over the winter and during the spring use the dirt on the garden.

    Those pesky vines sprout and grow almost overnight, I’ve been looking for the best approach to limit their invasion.

    Thanks, great article.

  5. what do you think about covering the weeded, tilled soil with black plastic?

    • That definitely helps keep out any unwanted plants from growing and helps the nutrients in the ground!

      • I’ve read where any type of plastic on the ground will kill the microorganisms in the soil underneath it. May want to research that a little bit more. I’m not an expert, to be sure, but if you’re wanting to cover the soil, I would recommend cardboard or newspaper.

      • Yes, we will definitely head back to the professor, and ask him to clarify his research. I know he travels the world teaching agriculture and planting so I imagine he will have a great answer for us. Stay tuned!

  6. Great tips. Here in England that all applys to. We have our garden and an alottment, always rake the leaves but usually just bin then so this year will compost them. What type of bag to you suggest keeping them in?

  7. My gardening pretty much consists of a few pots of herbs on the back steps, but I love the spices!

  8. Oh my goodness. I just learned a bundle. The leaves thing? BRILLIANT!!!

  9. I’ve been such a horrible gardener so these are great tips!

  10. great ideas1 i’ll be peeping my garden for winter next weekend so this post came at the perfect time!

  11. Just five years into vegtable gardening and never thought to place our leaves on top or to water it several times. Will do both this year. Because of critters we have a raised/fenced garden-not too big, just enough to handle. Thanks so much for the tips. – I, too, use McCormick!! AND, will be making this cake… Need to use up my bananas!

  12. Great ideas. I always wait till early spring to take the weeds out and start over. Never thought of using the leaves as mulch though.

  13. These are great tips! WE are wrapping up our garden for the year and probably won’t have one next year because we will be in Portland in a rental. Sigh…

  14. What an informative post! I know nothing about gardening.