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How to care for your garden in the fall — and how to prepare it for winter

Sarah Gray Miller, editor-in-chief of Modern Farmer magazine, stopped by Studio 1A to share what you need to know about gardening in the fall and how to protect your garden from harsh winter weather.

What to plant during the fall

Fall is the time to plant any bulbs, Miller says, such as garlic, ramps, tulips and crocuses. While it depends on your climate, the ground typically freezes about 3-to-4-inches deep in most of the country, so plant those bulbs about 6-to-8-inches deep.

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It’s also not too late to get some fresh lettuce out of your garden, as lettuces often thrive in cool weather and can be ready to harvest in 28-30 days. So if you plant mesclun or spinach today, you’ll have fresh greens before the first frost.

Autumn is also the ideal time to plant fruit trees. Just make sure you pic hearty fruit trees that can survive colder weather, such as peach or apple trees. Plant now and they will start producing in 1 to 3 years.

Get your garden ready for winter

There are three things that Miller says are imperative to saving your garden this winter: mulch, labeling and water.

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Mulch is imported to use around your plants and it keeps in heat and restores lost nutrients. Labeling is helpful so that when spring comes and you’re still waiting for your buds to bloom, you will know what you planted where.

And one thing everyone forgets to do is drain water or liquid associated with your garden. If you don’t, the liquid will freeze and ruin the container. So drain those garden hoses, lawnmower and garden pans!

What to bring inside

Get a longer growing season by bringing in some of your outside plants indoors. Not all can come in, but tomato plants and herbs, such as rosemary, sage and mint, are welcome to seek refuge indoors. Just keep them in a sunny spot and make sure to check them for any bugs!

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