Spring is always an exciting time for gardeners, with the panoply of flowers they’ve planted bursting through the ground and heralding the glorious beauty of spring. Their vegetable gardens are already beginning to show the fruits of their labor, and the harvest, long ahead, is sure to be bountiful. But once the harvest has come in and autumn’s colors are dancing on the wind their work is far from over. To ensure a beautiful spring requires that you prepare your plot for the long winter ahead. To Drive the Cold Winter Away, Or At Least Hold It at Bay When fall has come, it’s time to start preparing your garden for the cold weather ahead, and that starts with ensuring that the plants you want to survive, have as many nutrients and as much water available as possible. Start by going through the areas you want to preserve, and locating broadleaf weeds. These weeds, as their description implies, have broad leaves that are designed to make the most of the limited sunlight of the colder months and direct water and nutrients to where it will best suit them. This isn’t necessarily going to be what’s best for your plants, so the broadleaf plants need to go. Mow Your Lawn Efficiently Homeowners generally tend to assign dates for final mowing and end up shocking the grass by cutting it all off at once. As the summer months roll past, it is important to begin lowering your lawn mower each time you mow the lawn. Cutting the grass shorter gradually means you have a healthy length to prepare for winter. Ideally, minimum recommended length for grass is 1 to 1-1/2-inch, though the length may vary with the type of grass you have. It is important to have shorter grass in winters because with tall grass you are likely to open your lawn to mice and other burrowing animals looking for a warm place to hide. Within long grass, the mice burrows go unnoticed. Also Read: Useful Tips for Year-Round Lawn Care Make Sure Your Soil Is pH Balanced Begin with a soil test. Regardless of what kind of soil treatment you use to get the right pH level for your soil, it’s going to take time to work. That makes fall the best time to start treatments to reach your goal as the soil isn’t simultaneously going to try to be supporting your favorite plants. Lime can be applied if a test reveals your soil to be too acidic, and sulfur if it is too alkaline for your needs. During the winter, be sure to test the soil again to ensure that these substances are balancing out well in the soil and make any last-minute adjustments you need to make to it. Don’t Forget to Fertilize If you forget to fertilize toward the end of summer, go ahead and do it before the winter knocks at the door. You may use natural fertilizers if you want to keep your plants organic. In this case, make sure you are using a good fertilizer with zero percent phosphates. If organic is not really your way, look for fertilizers rich in nitrogen. Fertilizers low on nitrogen but with higher potassium and phosphorus are also effective in ensuring your lawn will be green and lush next season. Clear the Leaves Off Your Lawn Any fervent gardener knows that leaves on the ground is bad news for your garden, being a breeding ground for pests, snow mold, brown patch, and other diseases that can be the bane of your garden in spring. Further, your lawn needs to be able to breathe, and there’s nothing like a thick layer of leaves settling in to cut off the much-needed oxygen and fresh water. In cases of particularly thick leaf cover, you’ll even find you have problems with fresh grass sprouting in the spring. Preparing Your Beds for A Verdant Spring Starts After Harvest When you’ve finally pulled the last of the year’s bounty from your gardens it’s time to start preparing for the new year to come. It starts by pulling all the old bits and pieces of last year’s plants from the soil and sending it off to compost. If you’re feeling particularly proactive you can do some light tilling to ensure that breaking ground in the spring is easier. If you’ve found your soil to be acidic during the soil test, then this is an excellent opportunity to till in that lime or sulfur. Following these simple steps will ensure that you have a beautiful and bountiful Spring ahead and help support your garden's health for years to come. Tending to your beautiful property doesn’t end with the last harvest but is a careful stewardship of the land that lasts all year.

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