The flakes are falling!
Perhaps you’ve been too busy enjoying the ups and downs of Western New York weather to put much thought into winterizing the last blooms of the season.
Put your garden to bed for the winter before the freeze hits. Snow both protects and endangers plants, acting as insulation (similar to mulch) to keep the temperature in your garden even throughout the long winter months.
Save Year End Seeds
Though not all annual seeds will bloom as brightly and healthily as the previous year, saving seeds help carryover your garden from summer to spring. Most annual seeds may be gathered, placed in paper envelopes, and stored in a cool, dry place until the spring planting season.
Prepare Perennials & Annuals
Simplicity is the best part of winter preparation. It doesn’t take much to keep your garden thriving. Start by cutting back dry or dead stems, dividing spring and summer blooming plants, and planting those early spring bloomers.
After the ground freezes spread winter mulch over any bare soil and spread evergreen boughs over your bulb seeds. Evergreen boughs will protect the soil from shifting and cracking and will prevent your bulbs from being pushed to the surface.
For annual flowers, mulch your garden bed with 3 to 4 inches of chopped leaves or similar vegetation. This “leaf mold” helps build healthy soil and create air spaces for roots to grow. Leaf mold helps the soil retain moisture and prevent it from being compacted by hard rains and snow, and will naturally decompose.