The winter season is typically a troublesome time for inexperienced growers and new gardeners. While it may seem scary, the winter season isn’t all that bad for a grower who is prepared and educated on how to best handle the change in temperatures and overall alterations in weather factors. As a general rule, plants that are maintained well all throughout the year have the best changes of surviving the winter. Maintenance refers to keeping these crops healthy year-round through watering, fertilizing, and proper pruning. However, this is not to say that winter is not a harsh time for plants. Even the most properly maintained of crops can fall victim to roots or tops freezing, dried out soil, and other damages that come from low temperatures, snow, and high winds.
During the winter it often seems as though there is not much going on in the garden. However, much is happening below the soil that cannot be seen. There’s a lot of misconceptions regarding how winter effects plants. For instance, while snow can certainly endanger your plants, it can also protect them. A solid covering of snow can often serve much like mulch for the soil, as it insulates and protects. Nevertheless, snow piled on branches will weigh them down and breakage becomes a risk. Therefore, snow should be knocked from the lower branches first and then move upward to knock off the rest.
Preparing your vegetables crops is an important part coming into the heavy winter months. The fall season is the time to do a thorough cleanup of the garden in order to prepare for the new growing season that eventually comes during the spring. Then, it is important to look into planting cover crops, otherwise known as green manure. Green manure is not used for the intention of harvest, but rather to protect the soil underneath the ground. The cover crop helps to keep the topsoil from washing away or blowing away during harsh weather conditions. In addition, the cover crop shades the soil in order to prevent the germination of the weeds.
Preparing your crops for the winter is not as much difficult as it is time-intensive. In order avoid having to start all over during the spring season, take the time to prepare your harvest now for the heavy winter months that are coming in the near future.