Good ol’ Jack Frost is staging his return engagement, so now’s the time to think ahead and give your annual flower beds and vegetable garden a little pre-winter care to save you time and a lot of hassle next spring. Here’s the bedding-down routine:

Step 1: Clean out all plants and toss them onto the compost pile.

Step 2: Loosen the subsoil with a garden fork. By doing this now instead of waiting until spring, the earthworms have time to repair the damage to their tunnels.

Step 3: Dig my Bedtime Snack into the soil:
Mix 25 pounds of gypsum, 10 pounds of natural organic garden food, and 5 pounds of bonemeal together in a wheelbarrow, then apply the mix to every 100 square feet of soil with your handheld broadcast spreader.

Step 4: Spread a thick layer of leaves over the soil and top it off with straw or other organic mulch. This combo keeps the worms warm and busy all winter long, enriching the soil with their castings. Come spring, your planting beds are well fed and all set to grow.

Step 5: Finally, overspray the mulch with a good healthy dose of my Sleepytime Tonic:

Mix 1 can of beer, 1 can of regular cola (not diet), 1 cup of baby shampoo, ½ cup of ammonia, and ¼ cup of instant tea granules in a bucket. Pour the tonic into a 20 Gallon Hose-End Sprayer, and saturate the mulch to the point of run-off.

For more super solutions for getting your yard and garden ready for winter, check out my Backyard Problem Solver book—FREE for 21 days!