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Winterizing Your Garden 101

By: Factory Direct Hose | 09/16/2020

Fall is one of the most rewarding times to be a gardener. You’re finishing up a solid season of harvesting and are reaping (and eating) the rewards of your hard work. While it may be tempting to hang up the gardening gloves for the season and celebrate, taking a little bit of time to prepare your garden for winter is vital in order to set up your garden for success come spring.

We’ve collaborated with Factory Direct Hose, a local gardening and hose supply store, to put together a garden winter prep checklist so that your garden is ready to hit the ground running next season.

1.) Clean Up: Before the ground freezes, it is important to pull up the weeds and rake leaves so they do not smother your lawn. However, to support over-wintering native bees, butterflies, birds, and soil ecosystems, you do not need to be too tidy. Remove dead leaves from plants, but leave the roots in place. Dead roots from annual plants will break down and improve the soil. Wait to cut back seed heads and flower stalks until spring. They provide food for birds and homes for bees.

2.) Add compost: There is still one last thing to harvest before you close up shop for the winter, your compost! Use this material (or store bought soil amendment) to reinvigorate your soil. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to amend your soil in the fall, doing so allows the additions to start to break down, enrich the soil and become biologically active Work it into the top few inches of the soil before the ground freezes. If you wait until spring, you should wait for the ground to dry out before digging to protect the soil’s structure. Good structure allows water and air to move through the soil properly for good plant growth.

3.) Add a Layer of Protection: Mulch away! Adding a layer of straw or leaves to your planting beds after you have cleaned up your garden helps to suppress weeds from sprouting during those random Idaho warm winter weeks (usually in February).

4.) Take Care of Tools: The number one culprit of rusty garden tools? Leaving them out during the winter. If you clean, sharpen, and store your tools in a dry environment, you will get good use out of them for years to come.

5.) Winterize Your Water Supply: If you have an irrigation line, call a professional service to blow out the additional water lingering in the lines. This will prevent them from freezing and cracking when the temperature drops. Make sure that you unhook your garden hose from the faucet and drain out the water. This will prevent water from pooling in the faucet or pipes, which can cause the pipes to freeze and then crack (which is a major headache and expensive to fix). Store your hose in a cool, dry place out of the elements.

Written by Factory Direct Hose, a family-owned garden and industrial hose supply shop based out of Middleton, Idaho.