Winterizing raised beds? - Knowledgebase Question

Poynette, WI
Question by janetwoger
August 18, 2007
This is the first year I have had raised flower beds. I have read as much about them as I could. I can't find what to do with them for winter. I have many perennials and don't want to lose them. So, what do I do to protect them in a raised bed? Thank You! Janet

Answer from NGA
August 18, 2007


Putting the garden to bed for the winter is mostly a matter of cleaning up and covering up. As fall progresses and temperatures drop, those plants that aren't killed outright by frost prepare for dormancy. After frost, clear out the blackened stems and foliage of annual flowers and vegetables to prevent the possibility of their harboring disease pathogens and insect eggs over the winter.

While it appears as if all activity in the garden has stopped, there's a lot going on under the soil until it freezes. Newly transplanted trees and shrubs, divisions of perennials, and hardy bulbs are all growing roots, drawing on soil nutrients
and moisture around them. Earthworms and various microbes in the soil are still processing the organic material they're finding. Most likely, the organic mulch you spread to protect the soil during the summer months has substantially decomposed.
It's important to spread new mulch, a thicker winter layer , to protect plants and soil over the winter months. The idea is not so much to keep the soil warm as it is to keep the temperature even. Once the soil is frozen, mulch keeps it frozen. This mulch should be all the protection the plants in your raised flower beds should need.

Best wishes with your garden!

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