By this time of year, you should have most of your outdoor gardening season wrapped up. Our garlic has been planted, our hot crops have been taken out before the first frost, and only the hardiest plants are still left in the garden.

This is an excellent time to get your gardening equipment ready for next year. Here are a few tasks you can do to ensure you’re ready to get gardening as soon as the warm weather of spring rolls around again.

1. Clean Out Pots and Planters
If you reuse the same pots to grow annuals, empty them of soil and clean and wash them out using a bit of soap and water. Different pathogens can live in your soil and survive the winter. Do yourself a favor by washing with soap and water any unused containers.

2. Sharpen and Clean Your Hand Tools
This is a topic deserving of its own tip and we’ll cover this in next week’s gardening tip.

3. Give Your Garden One Last Good Soak
Even though the weather is cooler, your perennials, bushes, trees, and other cold hardy plants can still use a good drink of water. If little precipitation has fallen, we recommend giving the garden a good soak before the ground freezes over completely.

4. Turn Your Compost Pile
To speed up the decomposition of all those leaves in your garden (you did add leaves to your composter right?), turn and aerate your compost pile. In addition to spending some time giving your garden some TLC, this is a good general practice to observe how your composter is coming along, assess if it needs more browns or greens, feel the moisture content, and ensure the general well being.

5. Setup a lasagna garden
If you still have leaves you want to use up, you can create a lasagna garden. Lasagna gardening is a no dig and no till method that layers multiple types of organic material to create a rich, soil base that decomposes over time and makes for easy gardening. Leaves are a common ingredient, as well as newspaper, grass clippings, cardboard, coffee grounds, peat moss, worm castings, and more. You will need a fair amount of organic material for best results.

Cover Image by Perl Photography, used under its Creative Commons license.

[Got a Tip?] If you have a tip to share with your fellow urban farmers, let us know at tips@youngurbanfarmers.comWant More Tips? Browse our Tips Archive for more.