In the garden, you may begin with covering all water faucets and wrapping exposed pipes. This will protect sprinkler valves from freezing as well. Better keep wrapped and covered anything that could possibly be damaged by freezing temperatures.
During winters gardens go dormant, plants in containers, as well as hanging baskets, still need moisture periodically. Depending upon the size of your garden you must prepare months in advance and save approximately half of the grass clippings for the compost pile and half set aside for use as winter mulch.
Use this grass in conjunction with fallen tree leaves as primary mulch material. Add a bit of mushroom compost to the blend to sweeten the mix. This mulch/compost recipe is piled liberally around the base of all our Esperanzas, Jatrophas, Lantanas, Plumbago and Vitex.
For those of you with gardens with fewer plants to protect, sheets and blankets work fairly well to protect from killing frost and offer a few degrees of temperature improvement which may prove the difference in the life or death of the plant.
They say to never use plastic to cover your plants and this is for good reason. The plastic cover could cause a hothouse effect and with direct sunlight end up burning your plants rather than preventing freeze damage. If your option is paper or plastic, always go for the natural material for plant freeze protection.
Using the right fertilizer is crucial in winters. If the fertilizer is of a chemical blend, better avoid that using as a winter lawn fertilizer The soil temperature may be too low to breakdown the chemical blend for the grass to use and could just sit there until such time that the soil temperature rises enough.
If on the other hand an organic fertilizer is used, soil temperature will have little effect on absorption. Even if the grass has gone dormant the nutritional value of the organic materials will improve the soil and prepare your lawn for a flush of growth come spring.
A little protection of your garden in winter will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars next year in purchasing replacement plants. Take care of your outdoor living space and it will reward you in the spring and for years to come.
Our gardens cycle like us – young when we are young, grow old as we grow old and will die as we die. Think about this for a moment. When we began our gardens at whatever age, most everything is new. For the most part, the plants we use are new except for the pass-along planting materials/gifts from gardening friends or relatives.
The hardscape material we use for edging, seating, or paving, etc are usually new. Our garden experience is new and we have yet to kill a single plant. Just think of the destruction that awaits us but also the joy in getting there. As we age, so also do our gardens in ways that we never imagined in our youth. The clipped hedges and crisp grass edging are not quite as tidy as in the past.