1. Clean up the plants and rake up the debris. This keeps any plants that might not have been healthy from overwintering and bringing those same problems to next year’s garden.
  2. Amend the soil. Fall is an excellent time to add nutrients found in compost or manure. Adding nutrients now means that there it time for this to start to break down and become active. If your tomatoes had blossom end rot (mine did!) add some bone meal. Don’t dig this deeper than the root line of the vegetable you plant.
  3. Mulch the garden with a layer of yard clippings and leaves processed through your mower to prevent soil erosion and preserve the nutrients for next spring.
  4. Prune perennials carefully and mulch those that need the extra protection.
  5. Cover raised beds with a layer of black plastic, cardboard or even an old dark-colored sheet or carpet to keep everything in place. Raised beds drain more quickly than non-raised beds. This will also kill any existing weeks and sprouting seeds.
  6. Clean & tuck away your garden tools for next year. 
  7. Make a note of which plants did and did not work for your garden. Winter is a great time to research alternative plants that might be better suited.

Don’t forget to take care of your Garden Helpers over the winter. Keep your bird feeders filled and provide some fatty, high-energy, suet blocks during the cold months. Bird baths are a welcome for winter birds when food and water can be more challenging for them to find.