Fall is a change of pace, after the bustle of busy summer months. Time for preparing your garden for winter, and clean up. Here in Tennessee, we have a really long growing season from late April or early May to late October which means lots of time to grow things. It also means by the time we get to the end of the season our soil is depleted and there is a lot to clean up.
Fall Garden Clean Up
When doing a fall garden clean up it’s important to remove any dead plants in your garden. DO NOT LEAVE ANY IN PILES OVER WINTER. If they aren’t covered in mold, mildew, or bugs they can go in the compost pile. If they are put them in the burn pile and destroy them. This will help to prevent bugs from overwintering in your garden and attacking it next year.
If you have chickens or ducks the fall garden clean up is a great time to let them into your garden to eat any bugs or weeds they can find.
Preparing Your Raised Beds For Winter
Add 1-2 inches of organic compost to your soil, the amendments will continue to break down over the winter and replenish your soil. This is especially important if you have raised beds as we do. When spring rolls around your garden is already fertilized and ready to be planted.
If you are preparing raised beds for winter, top off the beds with fresh garden soil. Over the summer they will lose several inches of soil.
Add a thick layer of mulched leaves to your garden when preparing your garden for winter. This is a great way to keep all that precious soil in your beds and to keep the weeds from springing up when your back is turned. Over time the leaves will break down into rich black soil. Make sure the leaves aren’t blighted or diseased.
Preparing Your Garden For The Next Season
While preparing your garden for winter is the perfect time to do a soil test, this will tell you what your soil is lacking so you can amend it before the next planting season starts.
Growing a cover crop is a great way to prepare your garden for winter. A cover crop adds nitrogen to the soil while slowing erosion, suppressing weeds and helping to control bugs and diseases.
Preparing Your Garden For Winter
When preparing your garden for winter, it’s a great time to upkeep your arbors, trellises and raised beds. Repair any damage that happened over the summer, and consider applying a fresh coat of paint to any wood to help it stand up to the winter weather.
Make sure when you are doing a fall clean up to put away any tomato cages, temporary arbors, or garden decorations for the season where they will be safe.
Another great way to prepare your garden for the next season is to update your garden journal with careful notes on how each variety of plant did, any issues they had, what worked and what didn’t, and what you would like more of. This will help you when planning your garden next year.
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