Preparing Your Garden Bed for the Winter is an important part of the gardening experience. All gardeners plan on having an improved production of vegetables in the next gardening season. We often dream of more vine-ripened tomatoes, bigger cabbage heads, longer cucumbers and more summer squash. Those gardening dreams can become a reality next spring and summer if you prepare your garden beds for winter with these tips.
Clean out all vegetable plants that are have ceased production. Inspect each plant as it’s plucked from the garden soil for signs of pests or disease. If plants appear pest and disease free, throw them on the compost pile so they can decompose and be added back to the garden soil next year. If the plants are bug infested or diseased, dispose of them, you don’t want to re-introduce those problems back into your garden next year.
When dead plants are allowed to remain in the garden all winter, pests like cucumber beetles, squash bugs, corn borers and potato bugs over-winter in them and re-emerge when the weather warms in spring to devour new plants.
While preparing the garden beds for winter, make note in your garden journal of any pests or disease you discover on plant roots or in the soil. This will provide you with information so you’ll be able to use the correct organic or commercial methods of preventing and/or ridding your vegetable garden of these problems next year.
Plant a winter cover crop in the garden bed to improve the soil for better vegetable production next year. Consider growing small grains, grasses or legumes that help prevent soil erosion, cut fertilizer costs, reduce the need for herbicides and other pesticides and improve soil health. Next spring just plow the cover crop into the soil with a roto-tiller.
An edible winter cover crop can be planted too. Kale, collards, mustard or turnips can be sown and harvested for winter food. The key is to plant more than you’ll eat and harvest every other plant so plenty of green plants will remain in the garden all winter.
Another winter gardening tip for improved vegetable production is to add manure to the garden bed. Well-rotted manure (not fresh) is the best type to use. Simply apply 3 inches of manure on top of the soil and plow it in. You can add cow manure, till it in the soil, then plant a winter cover crop.
Charlie’s Compost 10 lb
"Probably the best humic compost we have ever seen," the Garden Guy, landscaper Carles Stocker, live on FOX, Aug 17 2012
Off-the-charts "good" microorganism activity measured by the Soil Foodweb Laboratory
Made using only the finest quality chicken manure from Charlie's vegetarian, antibiotic-free chickens