Preparing your Idaho garden for Winter

Preparing your Idaho garden for Winter

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

The temperatures continue to fall, and it’s about this time of year we accept that the gardening season is finally over. After your last harvest, the cleanup process begins. There are a few more things to take care of to ensure your garden is recharged and ready to go next spring.


The first frost kills your vegetable plants. You could leave them there all winter. However, a cleaned garden bed is very satisfying. Take the time to cut back your dead plants to the ground. Remove your cages and trellises and find an out-of-the-way spot to store them. If you can keep them out of the rain and snow, you can preserve their life for years to come.


Take care to remove any weeds. Many weed killers will not be effective in colder temperatures. However, Zamzows does carry a collection of organic weed killers that can still be effective, even at cooler temperatures. Pulverize Weed & Grass Killer is a great organic option. If you want to keep things super organic, you can always use your hands, shovels, and hoes. Whenever possible, remove as many of the roots as possible. Weeding after heavy rain will make it a lot easier.


There are many ways to compost, and using your cleaned-up plants is a great way to get started. Composting can be as easy as piling your collected plants in a corner of the garden. Trench or keyhole composting is another process that is easy to get started, though it does need a little future planning. Instead of piling all your material in a single location, you can dig a hole or trench near the spots you plan on growing plants next year. Pile your compostable material in the trench or hole, and then cover it with soil. The dead plants will compost all winter and be ready for next year’s veggies. For more information on compost, go to this link. Learn How to Compost


Adding mulch to your cleaned beds is a great way to replenish the essential nutrients used by this year’s veggies. There are many mulches to choose from. Hay, manure, leaves, and cover crops are all effective mulches you can employ. It’s best to use multiple options for nutrient diversity. Leaves are an easy mulch most of us can use. Rather than throwing them away, use them to cover your garden. Topping with some manure or hay will make for a great mulch to turn over next spring.

Caution: If you have a walnut tree, you will not want to use the leaves in your garden. Walnut leaves contain a growth suppressant that will wreak havoc on next year’s plants.


You’re right, fertilizing is done during the planting and growing seasons. However, applying a low dose of fertilizer after cleaning up your garden is very beneficial. Zamzows Nutri-Rich, Thrive, or Chicken Soup for the Soil are all great fertilizers you can apply to your garden during the fall. These Zamzows fertilizers are slow-releasing and feed the beneficial microbes in your soil. These microbes will eat up your mulch and compost adding even more nutrients back into your garden soil.

Enjoy fall and, as always if you have questions, come see us at any of our 13 Zamzows locations.