Posted on 05 November 2010 by

“Garden” Goodnight

fall-garden1By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

As the days shorten and temperatures cool garden maintenance becomes a crucial chore that needs to be done.

But do not think that if you did not garden in the beautiful dark earth that you can sit on your laurels until next season.

There are still plenty of things that need to be done before the cold winter wind blows.

The first thing to remember is that this closing down the “garden” will be spread out according to what you planted and how you planted it. If you planted cold crops in the ground just cover when cold weather shows up and uncover when the sun comes up or place in a cold frame. If you planted cold crops in planters simply cover for a frost or if the container can be moved just bring indoors. But remember to uncover and/or take back outside in the morning.

If cold crops were not planted getting ready for winter is easy. First gleam all the remaining produce off plants. Many vegetables can be ripened off the plant and while it is not comparable to ripened on the vine it is better to use it than waste it. Next pull up the plants and place in compost pile. If one farmed on the land plant winter rye or wheat not only to add natural fertilizer when it is tilled under but also to help control weeds and prevent soil erosion.

If one planted in containers dump used soil into compost container. Confined space seems to deplete soil so fill planter with fresh soil next year. Then store away planters upside down until next year. Storing upside down will keep water out and preventing pots from busting due to freezing

So form of gardening tools are used regardless of whether one gardens in the soil or in a pot. The steps are simple and worth the effort. A little elbow grease can extend the life of your gardening tools.

First a good habit to get into is to clean your tools after use. This helps save time and reduces the chances of spreading disease. Pruners, clippers, or saws are washed off and rubbed down with rubbing alcohol after each use. Before I put these types of tools up for the winter I spray them off and let them air-dry in the bright sunlight. The sun will help kill any disease that may remain. Once dried sand off any rust and rub a thin layer of used motor oil on the blades. Store in covered container. When ready to use next year simply wipe blades off and start with the gardening process.

If one has shovels, rakes or hoes simply wash off and let air-dry in the sun. Once dry sand off any rust and sand down handles. Rub metal parts down with used motor oil and rub down the handles with olive oil. Both of these oils will help lubricate the tools until next gardening season. Store out of the weather in such areas as a garage, shed or barn. When ready to use wipe tools down and garden.

Wheelbarrows and carts also need to be prepared for winter. Simply follow the above directions but when storing turn upside down to prevent moisture from building up.

So while the days shorten a gardener’s chore list does not. Following some simple tool winterizing tips will make the start of next gardening season sprout off without a hitch.

So until we blog again, don’t put off today’s chores in hopes of a rainy day tomorrow. Instead put away the sleeping garden and its tools, as winter winds blow in preparation for the spring river flows. The time taken now, will pay off in a bright sunny cloudy, when winter’s slumber awakes with light and thunder.

One Response to ““Garden” Goodnight”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    Those are great tips. Thanks!

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