As the days grow shorter and the weather starts to cool, thoughts of Calgary’s summer are dwindling replaced by those of fall. For green thumbs and yard and garden enthusiasts, the time is nigh to prepare your garden for winter snows. Here are a few tips to have your yard and garden in tiptop shape come spring.

Clear-Clutter---webGive your lawn a good rake in order to clear away collected leaves and other debris. Collected leaves and grass clippings can be composted, dropped off at a local compost collection location in the city or can be sprinkled under shrubs or on exposed soil to help protect and fertilize over the winter months. Home Depot suggests the fall is also a good time to aerate.

Flower-Power---webWhile colder weather and the first frost can leave your summer annuals and other plants looking sad and wilty, Canadian Garden suggests planting icicle pansies where you’ve cleared out your summer annuals. “(Icicle pansies) will bloom until December, then lie down for the winter. Cover them with evergreen cuttings until earliest spring, when they’ll be ready to sprout new flower buds.”

Shrub-Safety---webTo keep young shrubs and trees from the gnawing gnashers of critters seeking a winter snack, created a barrier around plants using chicken wire or tree guard products purchased from your local home and garden store. For evergreen plants, protection from harsh winter sun and winds can be achieved by creating a barrier out of burlap sacking. Speaking of shrubs, the fall season is a good time for planting shrubs and evergreens, just be sure to water them well before the ground freezes.

Garden-Guard---webOnce you’ve harvested the last of your gardens bounty, compost or mulch any remaining greens and consider planting a cover crop. Cover crops or green manure as it’s also known, isn’t a crop you’ll harvest but acts as a protective barrier for your garden soil, which according to Organic Gardening will “suppress weeds, build productive soil and help control pests and diseases.” It’s suggested cover crops be planted four weeks before the killing frosts.