Guess what? There are a few more garden chores to do right now. Yes, I know it’s officially winter, and you may even have a fresh layer of snow on the ground. But while you’re not actively planting, growing, maintaining, and harvesting at the moment, there are some secondary (but equally important) chores to stay on top of. Here’s a quick list to help your egg nogged-and-sugar-cookies brain stay focused — but remember to always defer to recommendations from your trusted local garden experts.
Prune with a purpose. If you’re bored and just itching to get out into the garden with your pruners, don’t do it simply to keep busy. Always prune with a purpose, especially this time of year. Remove dead limbs that can fall during stiff winter winds, and trim up your evergreen shrubs and deciduous trees — it’s perfect timing, as you’re better able to see your tree’s form without any leaves obscuring the view. Any perennials that have gone through a freeze and are looking sad can get a cut-back, too.
Maintain your lawnmower. This is one of those chores we often forget to do, then when it’s time for the first lawn-mowing in the spring, we run into problems. Clean and repair your mower parts, and drain the gas out, as any gas left in over the winter can clog your mower’s fuel lines. If you decide to leave gas in, simply start your mower twice a month through the winter to keep the fuel lines open.
Remove dead leaves. Have you seen those social media memes that urge you to leave your leaves on the lawn over the winter to provide cover for bugs and such? Forget it. In theory, it’s true — if your lawn is a forest floor. But it’s not, and leaving dead leaves over the winter can create disease issues, so plan to get outside, rake those leaves up, and toss ‘em into the compost pile.
Complete a final cleanup. Trust me, I get it — you’re warm and cozy inside and the last thing you want to do is go outside and clean up your garden. It’s a thankless task until you arrive at next spring and your garden is messy. Remove cages, containers, and non-permanent trellises, then clean, repair and store. Now you’ve got a clean slate for next year.
Remove and store your hoses. Another decidedly not-fun task. But guess what’s less fun? A broken water spigot. Remove all of your hoses from the spigots, drain the water out of them, and hang them up in the shed or garage for the winter. Done and done.
Clean and store garden tools. This is a perfect time to take stock of your tools and get them ready for the next season of hard work. Clean, sharpen, repair, and store — and make notes about what tools need replacing.