Posted by Bruce Borden in Indianapolis, Home Maintenance

Chilly temperatures bring us inside, but your garden doesn’t have a choice! If you want a successful harvest next year, you need to protect your garden from that cold weather.

Whether you specialize in flowers, veggies, or both, set your home garden up for success next season with these essential maintenance tips to complete before the weather gets too cold.

Pruning Garden

How to Prep Garden Beds for Winter

We assembled advice from highly experienced gardeners to help you plan a weekend to knock out the tasks necessary to prepare your garden for winter and keep it protected for the next season.

  1. Remove Any Dead Plants and Fallen Fruit
  2. Prune Trees and Bushes
  3. Rake Leaves and Other Debris From Lawn
  4. Weed and Clean Out Garden Beds
  5. Cover Beds With Mulch and/or Compost
  6. Plant Spring Crops
  7. Bring Necessary Plants Indoors for Overwintering
  8. Store Tools in Your Garage or Shed
Digging in Garden Bed

Remove Any Dead Plants and Fallen Fruit

Completing this first step around both your garden as well as any fruit trees on your property helps to reduce the spread of various diseases that could harm future plants! Clearing away the larger items also helps get to the smaller weeds later.

Prune Trees and Bushes

Blogger Kelly Martin of Urban Garden Gal instructs home gardeners to get rid of diseased or dying branches to keep larger plants healthy going into the off-season. This can help the tree or bush focus on new, healthy growth.

Rake Leaves and Other Debris From Lawn

This is the last step around your garden beds. Since gusty days can revert freshly cleared beds in the blink of an eye, you’ll be thanking yourself that you got all the big stuff out of the way. This also keeps your grass clear and healthy.

Family Raking Yard Together

Weed and Clean Out Garden Beds

Make sure all leaves, weeds, and unwanted growth are removed to ready the bed for the next step to prepare for planting season.

This is when you’ll want a high-quality pair of gardening gloves for those extra stubborn and prickly imposters!

Cover Beds With Mulch and/or Compost

A sometimes overlooked part of the process, this is a crucial step to ensure that your garden has the nutrients it needs for healthy growing conditions. If you have been maintaining a home compost pile, this is its time to shine! More on compost and its benefits later.

Spreading Compost on Garden Bed

Plant Spring Crops

You’ll be so ready to see some green when winter is nearing its end! This step ensures you have something to look forward to in your garden when spring arrives.

Martin recommends planting spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils, tulips, crocus, and alliums. You can also plant some seeds at this point.

Although this part is fun, try to plant sparingly and strategically. “Check your zoning map and see what needs to be planted when based on what you want to grow. Don't overcrowd. If the seeds don't take, there will still be a little time to try again,” advises Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love.

Bring Necessary Plants Indoors for Overwintering

“Gardeners should look at their individual plants and see which ones can/should be brought inside for the winter,” continues Yamaguchi.

“A lot of plants can be overwintered, though that might look different for the specific kinds of plants. Many can be brought inside, kept in your garage, insulated, or a combination of those factors.

“They can appear to look dead, and you don’t have to water them as frequently, but they will revive in the spring. Plants have yearly cycles, and dormancy is a part of that cycle.

“Overwintering them allows them to experience dormancy in the winter while you adjust their conditions so that they stay alive,” he concludes.

Potted Herbs on Windowsill

Store Tools in Your Garage or Shed

Right before you head back inside for the evening to a comforting beverage and your favorite chair, it’s really important to bring all your tools inside (especially if cold, wet weather is coming overnight).

Prolonging your tools’ longevity and working condition means more in the gardening budget for fun plants next year, and your tools will be ready to go for the busyness of spring.

A Moment for the Importance of Composting

Composting is a sustainable, eco-friendly best practice you can do to help the environment, right from your own home! There are a few additional benefits to composting that can help you make this a new part of your gardening regimen if you haven’t already.

Did you know that key nutrients can be provided to your garden from compost, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, among others?

Properly maintained compost prevents you from having to use alternative harmful methods on your property to deter pests or fertilize plants.

Composting can be a fun activity for the whole family, and it’s a great way to teach your kids about habits for a healthy environment. Start with a compost bin indoors and make a game out of meal cleanup! Once you’re ready for a more advanced outdoor compost pile, make sure you research helpful tips to get the most out of it.

Mom and Son Composting Together

The rewards of having your own home garden are many! Get ready for the next planting season with gardening tips from a proven expert.


Bruce Borden


Bruce has been with M/I Homes for over 20 years, has been the National Customer Experience Manager for over 10 years, and has been in the home building industry for over 30 years. Happily married and a proud father, Bruce enjoys outdoor activities and home improvement projects, and has never met someone he didn't like.

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