Now is the Time for Winter Gardening
If you are working with a winter vegetable garden, some general maintenance is required. Check the soil moisture of your garden regularly and water when necessary. Water helps insulate plants against a frost or freeze. In freezing weather, water plants early in the day and avoid getting the foliage wet. Also try filling plastic jugs with water and place them around your plants inside your season extenders – whether cold frames, low tunnel, or under floating row covers – to moderate temperatures inside the structure and to further protect plants. Make use of portable containers to be able to bring some plants insider in the case of a deep freeze. The VCE publication “Season Extenders” provides additional information on the use of various season extenders and how to grow vegetables in winter.
Take the time now to tackle one of the last year-end garden tasks – caring for your garden tools and equipment. Most gardeners don’t take the time to properly care for their tools throughout the season. Now is the time to extend the life of your tools and equipment to improve their usability with some simple end-of-season maintenance. All hand tools should be cleaned, sharpened, oiled, repaired, and properly stored in a dry place to be ready for next year. You may enjoy reading the MGNV article Winter Tool Care by Extension Master Gardeners Elaine Mills, Mary Resnick and Anne Reed for some expert advice on how to tune up and care for your garden tools. Sharpening Garden Tools from Oregon State University Extension Service provides more information on how to sharpen your garden tools. Don’t forget also to empty and store all garden hoses and sprinkler heads, and securely turn off outdoor water outlets. Also empty any rain barrels you might have, and keep the outlet spigots open, so that the barrel does not warp overwinter during a freeze.
The MGNV/VCE video, Putting Your Garden to Bed, with EMGs Joan McIntyre and Molly Newling, has an entire section on garden tool maintenance here.
Take advantage of any end-of-season sales on gardening tools and equipment for next year. Check out MGNV’s Extension Master Gardeners’ list of must have tools!