Here in the northern hemisphere, winter is quickly coming upon us. In October and November, you need to prepare your gardens, shrubs, and tools for the coming snow and rain. Here are our tips on what to do to prepare your garden for winter.

1. Harvest your late veggies

Before the first frost, harvest crops like pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions and get your fall vegetables planted. Be sure to leave your pumpkins and squash outside for that first frost to “harden them off.” Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and other root crops can stay out during light frosts.

2. Make some leaf mold

All those leaves that have fallen in your yard? Don’t blow them away. Instead, prepare your garden for winter (and spring) by piling the moist leaves and waiting for them to decompose. You can enclose the pile with chicken wire or snow fencing to keep all the leaves in one place. Learn more about how to make leaf mold in this article.

3. Mulch your garden beds

A nice, thick layer of organic matter like compost, fertilizer, or fallen leaves can get your raised beds ready to produce with maximum efficiency next spring and summer. You can also use newspaper or cardboard to prevent weeds from cropping up before you get to your garden beds next year.

4. Get your bulbs protected

Prepare your garden for winter by giving your bulbs a thick topping of mulch. Some gardeners recommend evergreen boughs, but use what you have. This will prevent the soil from shifting and cracking—and potentially heaving your bulbs to the surface. Garlic, daffodils, irises, tulips, and other such plants should be protected in this manner.

5. Gather up your tools

It never fails: In the heat of planting, weeding, and harvesting, some of your gardening tools will end up outdoors. Go around your gardens and find any tools, then put them in your shed or other area to keep them organized and in good shape for next year’s gardening.

6. Get your greenhouse winterized

If your greenhouse or cold frames are covered in plastic, either remove it or cover it with tarps to keep it from being damaged by winter weather.

And finally, take a deep breath and enjoy the fruits of your harvest. Now that you’ve taken the time to prepare your garden for winter, you’ll be ready to start all over again next spring.