If you’ve just recently purchased a house for sale, you don’t need to wait until the Spring to start planning your garden. There are many tasks you can do now to prep your garden for the warmer months.
If you want your garden to be lush and green in the spring and summer, it’s important to tend it well throughout the year. Despite the fact that there’s snow on the ground and the temperatures are sub-zero, the actions you take in the winter will have positive consequences for the future of your yard and outdoor space.
Here are some of our best tips that we’ve gathered from other local homeowners on how to take care of your garden and lawn in the winter. By doing all these cold-weather tasks, you’ll set yourself up well for a smooth planting season in the spring.
1. Clean and fix outdoor furniture and toys
If you have any outdoor furniture, toys, or large tools, they should be stored indoors away from the cold and snow during the winter. While they’re in storage, check them over, and make sure they’re clean and in good repair before the weather warms up.
By clearing away any lingering dirt and checking them over for cracks, rust, or other damage, you’ll prolong their lifespan and keep them useful for many more years to come.
2. Clean planters and pots
If you use planters and pots for annuals, make sure they get cleaned out well before they’re repotted with new plants in the spring. Lingering dirt and debris can easily contaminate new plants, stunting their growth or even killing the young plant.
You can avoid contamination from bugs, fungus, or bacteria by mixing up a solution of bleach, water, and soap, and using that to clean each pot before it’s carefully stored in a cool, dry spot. Avoid storing pots outside in the winter, as cold weather can crack any that are made of terracotta, clay, or ceramic.
3. Inventory your stock for spring
Once you’ve brought everything inside for the winter, take an inventory of what materials you have, and what may need to be replenished for the spring. This is a good time to double-check any old bulbs or seeds, to make sure they’re still in date.
Toss anything broken, or any seeds that are old or moldy. Then, make a shopping list. Getting a list of everything you need will allow you to shop online or in-person while avoiding the busiest days at the hardware store or garden centre in early spring.
4. Prune trees and shrubs
Winter is the best time to trim and prune trees and shrubs. It’s less disturbing to local bird and insect populations, plus it’s a lot easier on the trees themselves to prune them during their winter dormant period.
Pruning is a key way to support the long-term health of your trees and shrubs and is important to do every 3-5 years, or when branches or limbs start to look dangerous. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, hire a tree service professional.
5. Feed the birds
Windsor and the Essex County region is home to many unique species of birds. More than 385 pass through Point Pelee National Park every year as part of their traditional migratory patterns. Beginning with horned larks in January and early February, birds pass through Point Pelee even in the winter, ending with the peak of spring migration in mid-May.
All these birds passing through, as well as local species, sometimes require food on their journey. You can make your garden more hospitable to birds by offering birdseed and other food during the winter months. This makes them more likely to return in the spring and summer.
6. Brush away heavy snow
We’ve all seen how ice and heavy snow can affect even the largest trees. If you want to avoid trees breaking and falling on your property, make sure to clear away as much snow as possible. Brush snow off all the tree limbs you can reach, and clear snow off of smaller shrubs and plants to help them avoid getting completely squashed under all that weight.
7. Remove unwanted plants
Winter is a great time to remove unwanted plants from around your yard and garden beds. If you’ve always wanted to get rid of a wall full of ivy, or a persistent blackberry bush, winter is a great time. You just have to pick the right day, when the ground isn’t frozen solid, so you can get at the roots to remove the plant completely.
8. Plan for next year
One of the best parts of being a gardener is planning out what you want to plant next year. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and incorporate all the knowledge you gained over the last year to plan an even better garden for next year.
Spend some time this winter cuddled up in a cozy blanket on the couch, sketching out ideas for garden beds, or making lists of new plants you want to grow. If you keep all of your garden ideas in a journal, it will give you a great picture of your growth year after year.
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At our Windsor real estate brokerage, we love to share tips and tricks with our clients on what it’s like to own a home in Essex County.
Check out our blog for more of our best advice for local homeowners, as well as our insider info on what it’s like to put a house up for sale with our team.