Why It’s Important to Prep for the Changing Season
Getting your land ready for the winter will protect your property when harsher weather arrives and be ready with a fresh start as soon as it warms up. From machine-based work with a multi-use landscape rake to mixing this year’s compost into your garden beds to cleaning and putting up your tools, winterizing your property takes time.
By doing these tasks now, you can take advantage of milder working temperatures and even potentially increase your yields for the next growing season.
Your Ready-for-Winter Checklist
Work these nine tasks into your end-of-season to dos, and tackle a bit here and there before winter hits.
Tidy up your property. Remove dead annuals from flower beds and garden patches, pull out invasive species to limit their spread, and pile up downed branches for future use.
Mix compost into your planting beds. Depending on the size of your plot, you can add in compost with a tractor-loader or with hand tools. Quality compost usually includes a 4:1 ratio of brown materials (dry, dead leaves, grass clippings, etc.) and green materials (kitchen scraps, manure, fresh clippings, etc.) for the right balance of nutrients and texture.
Cut your lawn one last time. At the end of the growing season, use a finish mower to trim grass down to 2-2.5 inches to protect new growth and limit pests.
Mulch around trees, shrubs, and other plants. Aim for 2 inches of mulch cover to limit water loss and help stabilize soil temperatures.
Plant a cover crop. Protect your soil with a winter-friendly cover crop. Usually legumes like peas or clovers, or a hearty grass winter barley, are planted at the end of the growing season. Under snow cover, these crops will compost slowly to replenish the ground with nutrients and microbes and help limit erosion.
Reduce winter stress on your animals. Fix fences, make sure feeders and waterers are ready to go, and close up any gaps in living spaces that could let in cold winds or snow.
Clean and sharpen your tools. To remove caked on dirt or other grime, wash tools with soapy water and dry with a microfiber cloth. Tackle rust spots with a wire brush or steel wool, and sharpen edges with a flat mill file or a whetstone. Finally, lightly rub linseed oil onto wooden handles or moving parts of your tools and put up in a dry place to protect them for another year.
Prune those perennials. While usually a task reserved for later in the winter season, once trees lose their leaves and go dormant, pruning can begin.
Prep your snow gear. Bring items like snow shovels, snow blades, and snow blowers out of storage and into easy-to-reach areas. Pull those coveralls out of the back of your closet and make sure your winter work gloves are hole-free.
Enjoy this slower season to get planning and ordering done, and you’ll hit the ground running come springtime.
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