Winterizing gardens important task for fall
Gardening season might be in its winding down, but Elora Robinson already is planning for next year.
At her home in Marion, Robinson grows a variety of plants from perennials to flowers, and cucumbers to peppers.
One of her first steps for winter is making sure the soil is in proper condition.
“Even in the fall it’s better to go ahead and get it rototilled,” she said. “It gets rid of all the old leaves and things that might be on top, and then rototill it again in the spring.”
Tilling her garden after the growing season makes it easier for the ground to absorb moisture during the winter, Robinson said.
Margaret Wilson waits to till her garden until spring. In the fall she puts down layers of cardboard, newspaper, and hay in her garden to “let the ground rest.”
“Just let the earthworms work all winter,” she said. “Just let them do their little thing.”
It also inhibits weeds from setting in during fall and winter, she said.
Wilson shares her garden with neighbor Lloyd Davies. While Wilson uses cardboard and hay each year, there are also other methods she and Davies use less frequently.
“Sometimes he gets manure and puts it down but he hasn’t recently,” she said. “We probably should. This needs some activation. It would be good if we could get some manure, some really rotten manure to put down.”
Robinson uproots her tomato and pepper plants, and any flowers that are planted annually.
“When they’re through producing, you might as well get them pulled up and haul them to the dump,” she said.
Wilson also pulls many of her plants when the season is over but she sometimes leaves a few, like her tomatoes that never fully ripened.
“That’ll rot down and just be wonderful by next spring,” she said.
Robinson’s daylilies and other perennials have to be adequately trimmed, but any maintenance on shrubs waits until February.
Her plants aren’t Robinson’s only thought headed into colder months. She also leaves a gift for animals who visit.
“I like to leave some of the plants, like echinacea and things, so the birds will have some seeds to eat during the winter,” she said. “I don’t want to get rid of everything because the birds still need to eat something.”
In addition to echinacea, or coneflowers, Robinson allows her sedems, a succulent with a flowery head, to stay so that animals have plants to peck at through winter.
Last modified Oct. 15, 2020