UC Master Gardeners

Winter chores get the garden ready for spring

UC Master GardenerNovember 13, 2013 

Winter garden chores include getting rid of fallen leaves and other garden debris that have collected throughout the season. Some waste can be composted, while some needs to be recycled as green waste.


Q: I enjoy spending time out in the yard, but I have to admit I really don’t know a whole lot about gardening. What things should I be doing now? — Cassandra, San Luis Obispo

A: There are many garden tasks that can be done over the coming months to make for a better garden with healthier plants next spring. Luckily for us all, the winter months in our area are relatively mild, so this is an important time to get outside, do some cleanup and get your yard or garden ready for spring.

Winter garden tasks center on four basic areas: winter watering adjustments, garden care and clean up, vegetable gardening, and tool maintenance.

First off, in our arid climate, it’s important to know how to properly adjust your watering schedule and winterize your irrigation system.

Garden care and clean up includes getting rid of fallen leaves and other garden debris, knowing what should be composted and what needs to be recycled as green waste, winter lawn care, and what types of mulch to use and how to place mulch correctly. Pruning some perennial landscape plants can be done in the winter, but others must wait for spring.

If you have a vegetable garden, you will want to know which crops you can grow over the winter, and the many things you can do in the garden to improve your soil for next year’s garden.

Last, you might also want to know about garden tool maintenance and storage of those tools for the winter.

If all of this seems overwhelming, the University of California Master Gardener educators stand ready to help. We have many pertinent articles about gardening on our website: http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo.

The UC Master Gardeners will be giving a free Advice to Grow By workshop on “Winter Garden Tasks” on Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, our demonstration garden. We will meet in the auditorium adjacent to the garden at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo.


Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners website at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo or email mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu.

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