By contributing writer Angie
The season for vegetable gardening is coming to an end in many parts of the country. After a long spring and summer of working on the garden, it can be tempting to just let the cold weather take over and pretend like you don’t remember that you still have a garden.
This is the perfect time, however, to prepare your vegetable garden for next year.
7 Ways to Prepare Your Vegetable Garden for Spring
Pull Out Dead and Dying Plants
After you’ve gathered the last of what you can from your vegetable garden, especially if you have an impending frost and no covers, it’s the perfect time to remove the last of any dead, dying, or diseased plants from your garden. If you have a compost pile or bin, it is best to not put any of your plants that have become diseased into it.
Plant a Cover Crop
There are a variety of crops that are suitable for planting in your garden after you’ve pulled out your vegetable plants. One example, which is a hearty choice for cold weather, is winter wheat.
Cover crops can help add nutrients back into the soil, especially if you are growing many of the same types of vegetables in your garden each year. A cover crop can also help fight back weeds and minimize soil erosion. Once your growing season comes around again in the spring, just plow under the winter cover crop.
Take Advantage of Falling Leaves
There is no reason to bag up your fallen leaves this year. Rake them up into a large pile, and use a mulching mower several times to mulch them into the perfect cover and compost for your garden. Even if you don’t have a vegetable garden, you can put these mulched leaves around other plants in your yard for a little extra winter warmth.
Plant Hearty Winter Plants
If you live in a climate where winter is still a viable growing season, your preparations in the fall are even more important. Get your winter crops ready by getting them planted. If your winter weather is mild, it may still be a good idea to have row covers ready, just in case.
Bring the Garden Inside
While you can’t bring your whole vegetable garden inside, it can brighten up the cold winter days to have a kitchen garden box full of fresh herbs. Find a nice sunny spot, and enjoy your grocery store savings over the course of the winter as you use the fresh herbs readily growing in your kitchen.
Look for End of Season Deals
As stores make room for fall and winter holiday merchandise, they put outdoor and garden supplies on clearance. This can be a great time to save money while picking up something that you’ve had your eye on all summer.
Add Nutrients Back into the Soil
Have your garden soil tested to see if it is lacking some important nutrients. While you still may need to add more of the lacking nutrients in the spring, adding them now will help get your soil a little closer to ready for spring planting.
Do you garden? What are you doing in your garden at this time of year?
photo by Southern Foodways Alliance