KUSA - Some plants in the garden need to be tucked in for the winter - and others need to be removed entirely in preparation for the garden you will grow next spring.
Beginning with the hardiest and ending with the least hardy plants, here are some tips for tucking in your garden before winter.
Many garden herbs and other plants are perennials that should come back in the spring. These include chives, rosemary (if planted in a warm and protected location), mint, oregano and thyme. Berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and grapes, usually overwinter well and will be back in the spring. Clean out debris and leaves that can harbor insects. You may want to add organic mulch around these plants to give them insulation for the winter.
Cabbage and root crops like carrots and potatoes can stay in the ground for later harvest, but should be removed before the ground freezes. Other veggies usually last at least through October and include herbs like cilantro, parsley and dill. Plants that have fruits that still ripening, will also keep for a while longer: broccoli, brussel sprouts and winter squash.
What about garden clean-up?
While it's tempting to put off some of the clean-up until next spring, this is not healthy for the garden. Any debris that's left can host insects over the winter and they will only emerge in fuller force to damage your garden next spring. Clean out all dead plant material - tomatoes, basil and other annual herbs and all annual veggies that have passed their prime or been frost damaged. If there is any debris that looks diseased, put it in the trash instead of the compost pile. Also, keep vines out of the compost as they won't decompose.
Work the soil
If you want to get your spring garden off to a great start, turn or till the soil this fall. This activity exposes any insects that are still lingering to the elements. You can also add compost in this process. What we do this year does spill over into the quality of next year's garden. Ongoing and timely maintenance practices are critical to controlling insects and building healthy soil for the next growing season.
If you have young fruit trees - and any other young trees with thin bark - wrap them with tree wrap. This is good protection from the winter sun and related damage. During the winter months, plan to water trees and shrubs during dry periods as giving them sufficient moisture maintains their health and makes them more resistant to insects and disease.
Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado - sponsors of the 9News Water Wise Garden and the 9News Kitchen Garden. www.alcc.com
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