Putting your Garden Beds to Bed for the Winter
As summer comes to an end and the leaves are turning gorgeous colors, we know our summer garden harvest is nearing the end. We hear the weather man say the dreaded “F” word, frost tonight. Although our Garden Eats garden still has red onions, tiny broccoli shoots, and Swiss chard, we know it’s just about time to give it up. Now we can prepare our gardens for next year’s crop of fresh vegetables right outside our back door.
Pull Them Out
Most of the “ugly” in the garden now are brown, dead plants that should come out. While some gardeners simply leave the plants or till them under, this invites disease into the spring soil. And if you had any insect issues, they’ve already laid their eggs in the stems and roots of the very plants they infested. If your tomato plants had blossom end rot or your cucumbers had powdery mildew disease, leaving them in the garden until spring guarantees the sames problem. So yank everything out and dispose of the dead plants somewhere besides your compost pile. Putting the dead ones in there will give you the same results as leaving them in your garden.
Turn Me Over
Adding rich, organic matter to your soil in the fall will ensure a healthy soil in the spring. Many people are confused about what to add. Simple. A bag or two of aged manure and leaves that have fallen from your trees will do the trick. If you only add manure, next springs plants will be tall and dark green but won’t produce much fruit. This is a result of too much nitrogen in the soil. So till in your manure and top with lots and lots of leaves. Water the leaves down and wait a week or so until the leaves have dried. Till one more time and your beds are ready for winter sleep!
Wonderful Winter Learning Garden
While we may be laying our garden beds to rest for the colder winter ahead here in most parts of the United States, that does not mean our gardening fun has to end! Stay tuned this fall as we bring you new features on garden planning, seasonal eating tips for winter and a myriad of cool new ways to eat and grow a green life for you and your family!