Protect your garden from the cold

Early fall, protect your soil and your plants from winter frost spells.

Recycle your green waste to cover your hardy plants. As for the more vulnerable ones, be creative!

Dried leaves, ideal mulch

Any type of dried leaves are fine to make mulch, but some species are better than others. Tender leaves from fruit trees, field shrubs and horticultural shrubs (forsythia, meadowsweet, hydrangea…) are quick to break down into dirt. Keep those for short-term mulch (4 to 6 months). You can spread them on dahlia beds and on the vegetable patch to protect your winter vegetables like cabbage or leek. Also use a 4 inch (10 cm) layer of garden trimmings.

Keep the thicker, more leathery leaves from trees – such as plane trees, chestnut, bay laurel or common laurel – pour perennial plants like flowers and ornamental hedge shrubs. For ease of use, shred them in a shredder.

Mixed plant mulch

Retain the worth of your hedge or fruit tree trimmings by shredding them to use them as mulch for your rose trees, hydrangeas and perennials.

If your trees were infected with apple scab, rest assured that there will be no more risk of propagation in spring, after leaves have been broken down and buried into the soil by earthworms. But if in doubt, might as well spread these shreds around the vegetables in the vegetable patch: they aren’t vulnerable to scab.

Any solution works great!

A simple roofing made from a bamboo mat atop plants with vulnerable leafage is enough to protect them over winter without suffering. A slanted shingle, held in place with a pole or stake, can protect small plants from cold wind and white frost. Horticultural fleece will extend the blooming of your camellia without suffocating it.

As for your collection of exotic fruits, use thicker mats, pieces of carpets or dry straw matted along the trunk with a string to keep the plant warm. Set all your potted plants against a well exposed wall and protect them with bubble wrap. Better still, bring your geraniums and storksbills in a place that needs not be heated as long as it is dry and well ventilated.

M.-C. H.

Image credits:  Phovoir, Fotolia