Winter Garden Checklist

By on November 01, 2012

Tricia preps her garden for winter -- read on for her checklist.

Our gardens can shift so quickly from warm, late summer to chilly, rainy fall. To help you avoid the “oops, I forgot to ________” that afflicts all gardeners, here’s a checklist of garden jobs for the turn of the season.

Tricia gets her garden ready for winter in our video and shares her routine of seasonal garden jobs.


Turn off your irrigation system and drain the lines.
Wrap exposed pipes.
Disconnect and coil the hoses, then store them indoors until spring.
We have tips for all this in our Irrigation Maintenance video.


Sharpen your metal tools (now or on winter weekends) and oil any wooden handles. Watch how Tricia does this in our Sharpening Tools video.


Check the labels of your fertilizer and pest control bottles. Some will need to be stored indoors for the winter.


Wrap young, thin-barked trees with spiral tree guards to prevent sun scald.
If you have trouble with rabbits and deer nibbling on your tree trunks, place tree guards to protect the lowest portions of the trunks.
Pick up any fallen fruit, to prevent the over-wintering of pests and diseases. Tricia explains why this garden clean-up is so important in our Codling Moth Prevention and Integrated Pest Management [IPM] videos.


Remove dead annual vegetables from the beds. Compost the plants if they are free of diseases.
Cut back perennial vegetables, according to the guidelines in our Fall Perennial Vegetable Care video.


All the perennials, shrubs, and trees in your garden will thrive if you take this easy way to improve their soil. Spread an inch or two of compost (to revitalize the soil microrganisms) and a thin layer of mulch (to protect the soil and minimize the effects of temperature fluctuation) around all these, being careful not  to mulch right up to the trunks of trees.

Now that you have your garden in shape for the winter, you can enjoy the “Fifth Season” of gardening—reading garden books!

  Comments (4)


I planted 3 bulbs of garlic out 9 in October. And, I have yet to plant my Elephant Garlic. It is November. Is it too late to plant my Garlic and Elephant Garlic? If not, when will it be too late?

Posted by Jodell on Nov. 08, 2012 at 6:30:09 PM

Jodell, You can plant any kind of garlic as long as you can work the soil. It is ideal to wait until after your first frost. Watch our video on Growing Garlic for more tips and take a look at our Garlic Growing Guide too I hope this info is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have further questions!

Posted by on Nov. 09, 2012 at 10:33:14 PM


In the early months of planting, how much water should garlic receive? There has been no rain (to speak of) here in the Sierra Foothills and I have watered by hand twice and there’s still no rain forecasted until December!

Posted by Carolyn on Nov. 11, 2013 at 9:33:43 AM

Carolyn, If the garlic has not sprouted you don’t need to water (the bulbs are waiting quietly in the soil). If the garlic sprouts then those leaves will need water—water, and then water again when the soil is dry. What about those weather forecasts here in the Sierra foothills? We were supposed to have big rain today….

Posted by on Nov. 11, 2013 at 11:07:17 AM

+ Show More Comments

Leave a Comment