How to keep your soil and plants healthy during the cold months. 

By Sharon Tanenbaum and Ashley Tate
Ngoc Minh Ngo

Follow these easy steps once the first frost hits.

  • Remove and discard annual plants―flowers, herbs, and vegetables―and clip green-stemmed perennials back to just above the soil. If you don’t, insects and disease can infest your garden, says Charlie Nardozzi, a senior horticulturist for the National Gardening Association.
  • Do one last sweep for any remaining weeds, and spread any type of compost (available at garden centers) over your beds to insulate them from winter’s freezing and thawing cycles.
  • Remove and discard plants and the potting soil from containers. Then stash the empty pots inside a garage, a basement, or a shed so they won’t crack during the winter cold. If you have perennials or evergreens in pots, move them to an unheated garage or shed.
  • Drain and unhook garden hoses. Roll them and store indoors to extend their life span.