With the leaves falling and colder temperatures settling in, it’s time to put the garden to bed for the winter. Putting a mulch or cover crop on bare ground nourishes the soil and keeps nutrients from leaching down through the soil out of reach of plants’ roots.
Fall is also a time to do other tasks to be ready for spring. Tasks such as tending to tools, winterizing and storing container growing pots, digging up bulbs, and saving seeds can be done in the fall and into the winter. By doing these tasks now, by the time spring shows its cheery face you’ll be ready to jump right into next year’s gardening. Preparing your garden for a long winter’s sleep ensures that it will do well and produce bumper crops next year.
Putting your garden to bed includes pulling up some plants and leaving others in the soil, then gently tilling the soil to expose any insects that may want to overwinter. Exposing the means you’ll have fewer pest troubles in the spring. Next, add a layer of compost and a layer of leaves.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working hard to put our garden to bed. First we harvested the last of our carrots, radishes, and potatoes. You can leave them in the ground if you like, but we had very few left. Then we pulled weeks and our pumpkin and squash vines.Then we lightly tilled the soil to expose any larvae that might want to hibernate for the winter. This decreases the number that survive winter hibernation. We tilled under some radishes that were no longer any good.Notice that pumpkin that was hanging around? We tilled it right into the soil.Then we shoveled on some of our very own compost.
Next we spread a layer of leaves.To finish things up, we topped it all off with a cozy warm blanket of hay and said “goodnight” until spring!Sleep tight, dear garden! We’re busy getting ready to wake you up next spring!