Collect Bags of Leaves
Leaves are everywhere this time of the year, and Trail says they're a great resource for gardeners. "I collect all the leaves and put them into plastic bags and close them up and put them into a corner somewhere where I won't see them," she says. "After about a year, [the leaves] will decompose in the bag, and that is great mulch. It is nice and light."
Store and Protect Your Equipment
Hoses, watering cans and sprinklers should be drained of water and put into storage, Trail says. If they're not drained and left outside in the cold, Trail says the water in them will freeze, causing them to burst or crack. Terra-cotta pots should also be protected from the elements. "If you have somewhere outside where you can keep them, where they won't get any moisture on them, where they will be completely covered, then that is fine; they won't crack," she says.
Bring Some Plants Indoors
It's always nice to have something green in the house over the winter, and Trail says she usually digs up some of her hot pepper plants and grows them in containers on her windowsill. Also, Trail suggests digging up a thyme plant and bringing it indoors. "Grow it in a southern-facing window, because it does need the light, but thyme is very forgiving," she says. "If your windowsill gets too cold or really hot because of baseboard heating, thyme will still survive."
Reflect on What Worked and What Didn't
When it gets really cold and autumn is gone and the dark days of winter set in, Trail says you should start planning next year's garden. Evaluate what worked and what didn't in this year's garden and sketch out a plan for next year. You can even buy your seeds and start growing them indoors. Trail says she gets really desperate to garden during the winter, when her beloved plants are covered in snow, but she is comforted by this fact: "Plants don't really die. They're still alive underneath the snow. It is really an optimistic thing to remember," she says.
How are you preparing your garden for winter? Leave a comment below!