Garden Basics

Winter Garden Preparation for Spring

Winter is a great time to prepare for your spring garden and prepare the garden for the coming spring planting season.

Many gardening tasks can be done during winter, and we'll go over some of them today!

There will be plenty of time to plan out what needs to happen in the winter months ahead, so it all goes smoothly when spring finally arrives.

If you're gardening in the fall, plan early so that your plants have enough time to grow before the cold.

There are many tasks during winter, and it's important to keep these tasks on the list when planning out what needs to be done over a year.

There is plenty of time between when winter ends and when spring begins again. Therefore, there is ample opportunity for getting seeds planted or buying any other materials needed, such as seedlings.

Here are some gardening tips on how to prepare your garden for spring:

remove dead trees
  • Clear all of last year's debris and plant matter from your garden; this will make it easier for you to start fresh next spring
  • Cover all your tender shrubs and plants with a frost covering and remove once all chance of frost has passed.
  • Apply a layer of compost over the garden soil to help increase fertility levels and improve water retention.
mulch garden
  • Cover the ground with an inch or two of organic mulch to protect plants from freezing. Replace any mulch or leaves that have blown away.
  • Late winter and early spring is a good time to weed before the weeds get a chance to take over.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses in late winter. Light and air will reach the base of plants and give new shoots a head start for when the warm weather arrives.
cleaning paving with high pressure hose
  • Clean all hardscapes, such as paving with a high-pressure hose.
  • Plant winter-hardy vegetables now that can be harvested in the spring-like kale, cabbage and cauliflower. There are many winter crops to plant, especially in the warmer regions.
  • Start your soil preparation by having your garden soil tested. When you get the soil test results, you will know for sure whether or not it needs to add soil amendment and what type of additives are needed to improve the soil structure.
  • Next, use organic fertilizers like manure or worm castings to feed your garden plants with the natural substances they need. The best way is by using them as winter mulch around existing plants.
pruning trees in winter
  • Many people overlook a wintertime task, but it can be really helpful for spring cleanup: pruning shrubs and trees!
    Trees are dormant during winter, so it's easier to work on them now than when they're leafy.
    Pruning in fall or winter is a good idea; it allows you to reach branches and leaves on taller trees more easily.
    Remove any dead or diseased branches, cut away any large branches casting unwanted shade.
    Finally, remember to add all this organic matter to the compost heap.
  • Most fruit trees are deciduous. This means they lose their leaves in winter and should be pruned when they are dormant between December and early February.
    Clear out dead stems and leaves.
  • Move deciduous shrubs while they are dormant.
  • Divide perennials that have grown beyond their garden bed before new growth begins. Add compost to the soil when replanting.
  • Use all the fallen leaves as organic leaf mulch which will slowly turn into leaf mold. Grass clippings can be added to the garden bed in a thin layer.
leaves in house gutters
  • Keep your gutters clear of fallen leaves. Then, add this organic material to the compost pile.
  • Remove dead plants during winter months; after they die back, even more, you need to remove them from your garden bed to prevent disease.
    Never discard them in the compost bin. You may want to dig up some of these plants before frost sets in so that you have enough room for new one's next year.
  • If some plants are heavily frosted, do not cut them back until the weather warms, as these frosted parts of the plant protect the plant from further frost damage.
  • Some perennial plants are frost-hardy and should be cut back during the fall. Likewise, those perennials that are tender may be cut back once all chance of frost has passed.
Repairing lawnmower
  • Clean and repair gardening tools ready for spring. If you find that some of your garden tools are rusty or broken, then now is a great time to fix them up for next year's spring growing season. Service the lawnmower.
  • Add or improve your outdoor lighting so you can enjoy your garden after dark during spring and summer.
  • Add some new plants to your planting bed for early spring color and interest. Fall and winter is a good time to plant a tree. It will have time to settle in before new growth in spring.
  • Aerate your lawn near the end of winter if the ground is not frozen. Aeration will increase airflow and improve drainage.
planting bulbs
  • Order and plant spring bulbs and seeds now so they are ready when spring comes along!
  • Check your irrigation system periodically during these months. Also, check all of the hoses and faucets around your property for freezing conditions before turning on anything. This can cause expensive repairs later on when everything thaws out again.

It's important to keep your winter garden preparation on the list of tasks for next year. This will give you plenty of time to plan out what needs to happen in the winter months ahead, so it all goes smoothly when spring finally arrives.


Winter is the ideal time to get to those chores you don't have time for during the growing season.

Take note of the plants that do not survive the winter. Planting indigenous will reward you in the long run.

Always keep the garden beds well mulched and protected.

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