By following a couple basic steps to ready your garden for the winter, you make it easier for spring planting. Even more, you create an environment for healthier soil and a better protected, more productive garden the next year.
- Remove dead vegetation. Clean your beds totally free of any and all plants (except, of coarse, any winter crops) including weeds. Some diseases and pests can overwinter in left over foliage. Healthy vegetation can be added into a compost but if there are any signs of mold, mildew or any kind of blight do not compost it. You can burn it or send it off with your yard waste pickup. Mildews and blight can often survive composting and infect your new compost. You may then spread them all through your garden the next year!
- Add a 1-2 inch layer of fresh compost. This covers the bed with nutrients that nourish and protect the soil throughout the winter and early spring. Do not add leaves or mulch until the grounds surface has hardened from frost. The frost kills off most diseases and pests that harbor in the top soil. It is okay if you do not add anything over your fresh compost for the winter. If you do, make it a thin layer of mulch or leaves after the frost. Mice and other rodents can take winter refuge if the mulch is too thick.
It’s that easy!
Also, it is not too late to plant garlic and get your spring time flower bulbs in. You have until the frost.