One of the reasons why soil feels so loose and friable toward season’s end is that it is impregnated with the summer’s "crop" of fungal hyphae and mycelium – microscropic threads that will slowly rot through winter, along with roots left behind by veggies and weeds.So, unless you have a good reason for doing so, for example you want to prepare space now for an early spring salad garden, in fall it is better to mulch over vacant beds without cultivating them first.There is seldom a crop present for them to smother, and common weeds like henbit and chickweed often form green mats of foliage that protect the soil from erosion.To keep winter weeds from reseeding too heavily, simply hoe them down in early spring, rake up the greens, and compost them.In this way, the bed benefits from a deep layer of compost at the surface, which is further enhanced by a cloth cover.A cloth cover moderates how much moisture reaches the compost and soil below and cushions the bed, which reduces compaction caused by pounding rain. .

10 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter

Annual vegetables are nearing the end of their lifespan and are starting to succumb to the nip of successively heavier frosts.If you would like to reduce the amount of work facing you during next year’s spring frenzy, consider some of these suggestions for putting your garden to bed. .

Prep Your Garden Soil for the Next Growing Season

Another option for prepping your soil is to plant a cover crop such as clover, red wheat, cereal or annual rye, agricultural mustard, fava beans, alfalfa, sorghum, or wooly pod vetch. .

How to prepare a raised garden bed for winter

Throughout autumn, gardeners with raised beds should take several steps to ensure their garden beds are ready for next year’s seeds and seedling transplants.“A lot of our weeds are setting seed right now.For the parts of your raised bed that’s simply carpeted in weeds, cover them with black plastic or a layer of cardboard and leave it in place through the winter season to choke out existing weeds and suffocate sprouting weeds.“Those photos are really helpful for the planting process in the coming year,” Garland said.“You think you’re going to remember where you planted everything but it’s just good insurance to have that photo record to make sure you’re rotating crops.If your plants are disease-free and you do not want to disturb the soil, consider cutting the plants off at soil-level and leaving the roots in the ground.Cutting the plants at the soil line will also prevent additional disturbance to the soil in your raised garden bed.Step 3: Add compost and other organic material.Adding a layer of compost in your clean raised bed will help ensure a nutrient-rich environment come spring.When you go to plant, that added material is going to get added and incorporated into your soil as well.”.Garland said that unlike in-ground garden beds which are bolstered by natural soil, raised beds may experience some shrinkage in the soil over the course of the year.That’s a good material that won’t go away and helps keep a nice volume of material in your raised bed.”.Step 4: Plant cover crops, or add mulch.Some cover crops will die during the winter, but others will overwinter and may become weeds.“Oats wind up being a nice little mat of organic dead material on top of your soil and you don’t have to incorporate it in,” Garland said.If you are not planting cover crops, consider covering the soil to prevent amendments from washing below root level (this especially important in raised beds, which tend to drain more quickly than in-ground beds) or adding a layer of organic mulch.Fall pruning is beneficial for certain types of perennial plants, but make sure you know the care requirements for the ones in your garden.Spring is a busy time for gardeners.While you are taking care of the other winter prep tasks for your raised bed, take advantage of the time to build any season extenders you may want to use in your raised garden bed next spring. .

8 Ways to Prepare Your Garden for Winter • The Prairie Homestead

Some years, I’ve been interested in experimenting with a fall garden of vegetables, but other times, by September, I’m frankly tired of the gardening season and it’s time to put the garden to rest for the year (if you’re interested in starting a fall garden this year, check out my article on how to plan a fall garden for some great tips).Leaving that precious soil bare to the elements is gonna leave you with less-nutrient soil and lots more weeds in the spring.How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter.While there are plenty of opinions on how prepare your garden for winter, there are 8 things I like to do to help assure I’ll have more nutrient-rich soil–and less weeds (!!Instead, if you dig the weed out by its roots, you’ll weaken the weed and make it vulnerable to winter weather.Tip: There is plenty of gardening debate about whether or not to clean up garden beds, since good bugs hibernate in debris, too.Tip: If your dead vegetable plants are not showing signs of disease, you can add them to your compost pile.But make sure you don’t put diseased plants in your compost, since the diseases can overwinter there as well.Test Your Garden Soil.Now that your garden is cleaned up, it’s a great time to get a soil test done.All good things to know for next year.Once you get your soil tests back from the lab, you can use that information to rebuild your soil over the winter so that you are starting spring with healthy, fertile soil.There is a huge variety of organic soil amendments you can add to your garden, and it really depends on what your soil test results show you’re lacking.As a general rule, compostables fall into two categories – Greens and Browns.The browns do contain nutrients, but not as much as the greens.Browns compost more slowly.Grow A Cover Crop.One of the most important things to put on your fall garden checklist is to cover and protect your soil.If you can see your soil, you need to get a cover on it.A cover crop is like green compost growing in your soil; the nutrients in the plant replenish the ground, preparing it for your summer crops.I learned that it’s best to use a diverse mix of seeds like this one right here, since having a variety of plants in your cover crop will lead to a variety of microbes in your soil.Cover Your Soil with Mulch.If you choose not to use cover crops (I haven’t personally used them yet myself), make sure you cover your soil well with a good mulch.Mulch protects the soil from being washed away, slowly adds nutrients to your soil, adds good tilth to your soil as it breaks down over time, conserves moisture, and prevents weed seed from sprouting.Prepare for spring seed starting.It’s a great time to .Some gardeners make thorough notes on their gardening year.After you prepare your garden for winter, it’s time to step back and admire your clean and winterized garden.Learn more about how you can help your garden over the winter with cover crops by listening to the Old Fashioned On Purpose podcast episode #26 HERE. .

Espoma

Help your garden weather the cold this season.Gardening for winter consists mostly of outdoor cleanup, followed by an indoor revival.After a hard freeze, mulch beds.So Long to the Lawn.Winterize to Win.Apply Espoma’s organic lawn winterizer to cool-season grasses.Feed trees with an organic tree fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Tree-tone for winter sustenance.Feed trees with an organic tree fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Tree-tone for winter sustenance.Now, let’s focus on those incredible indoor plants to keep you gardening all winter long. .

Preparing Your Soil for Winter

Whether you are growing ornamentals or edibles, preparing soil for winter is essential for year-round success in the home garden.If any plantings have been smothered by debris or soil that has washed into the wrong place, clean up the area around the base of the trunks or stems.Small amounts of grass clippings or leaves can also be added in the fall to break down and prepare soil for future plantings.While each type of plant may have specific nutrient requirements, this overview will provide a few simple tips to preparing soil for winter with spring in mind.This simple task helps protect the root system from fluctuating soil temperatures that occur in winter.If you plan to reuse your garden space again in the spring, you may also till under any annuals and/or fallen leaves, which serve as organic matter to enrich the soil.Some common findings may include: Fall is the ideal time to prepare your soil for winter, so take advantage of the loose, workable composition and get your garden tidied up before the ground freezes. .

Preparing the Garden for Winter

Cucumbers and summer squash have to be harvested first, they do not tolerate temperatures close to the freezing point.We plant spinach in late summer with the intention to let overwinter in the ground.Spinach survives unprotected (just regular mulch) in our Zone 3 garden.These greens will provide you with early salads and will protect the soil from weed overgrowth long before you can start planting.If your area does not get temperatures that low, or it is just an unusual event, you can keep harvesting all winter long.Learn more about it: The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production .It is better for the garden, the insects, and your back if you leave most of the cleaning till spring.Here at Northern Homestead, we like to get out and into the compost most of the annual plants, simply because they tend to make a big mess, so it is good to clean them up.Legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, lentils, alfalfa) are nitrogen fixers.In order to take advantage of this wonderful natural fertilizer, we cut off the tops and toss them into the compost pile, but leave the roots in the ground.The majority of plants though are left right where and how they are, along with fall leaves that naturally protect the soil and provide a hiding place for beneficial insects during the winter.The leaves cover the soil keeping it warm and nurturing it at the same time.Experienced gardeners living in the mountains of Kluane in the Yukon Territory shared with us: “We use a blending of bio-intensive, permaculture, and no-till on our homestead.Our experience over time in our garden has shown us that any mulch other than compost needs to be applied after the plants reach a certain size in early summer.When we leave other mulches covering our beds over winter we provide nesting habitat for mice and especially voles that explode in population and cause a great deal of damage to our garden.As well, mulch applied in autumn or spring has created major cutworm issues for us.There is no doubt that no-till with mulching has many benefits for soil health and structure, but like any gardening method, there are some limitations”.Covering the garden soil also helps the perennial plants to survive the winter cold better.We cover our blackberries, kiwi, grapes, and lavender plants with bags filled with leaves.When putting trees, shrubs, and perennial plants to sleep in the autumn, we want them to have a frozen root ball.Harvest, cover, and water – preparing the garden for winter is easy, but still very important!We invite you to subscribe to Northern Homestead and follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest for the latest updates. .

Preparing Raised Beds For Winter

Unfortunately, winter is coming fast, and that means it’s time to start preparing your raised beds for a long stretch of cold and nasty weather.Weather that can quickly take a toll on the health and vitality of your raised bed soil.But without replenishing nutrients and protecting the soil through winter, they can lose their ability to power plants.Leaving your raised bed soil unprotected through the winter months is a recipe for disaster.With that in mind, here is a look at how to prepare your raised beds this fall, and set the stage for big success next year!When it comes to raised bed maintenance in the fall, it all starts with clearing away old plants.In fact, the quicker you remove spent vegetable plants, annual flowers and herbs, the better.Plants left to decay in raised beds create a myriad of issues for the soil.For starters, the decaying stems, roots and foliage are an easy target for pests and disease to take up residence.As we talked about at the beginning of the article, it is extremely important to add nutrients back into the soil every year.By simply covering your raised beds with a few inches of compost in the fall, you can re-power your soil with ease.Just as with compost, you will want to cover the manure through the long winter months to protect it from erosion and the nutrients leaching away.The roots of a cover crop work down deep to open up air channels and break up hard soils.Annual rye is an excellent choice to cover crop raised beds.Leaves have nutrients as well, and provide an excellent cover for beds through the long winter months.Whole leaves work best for covering as they mat down to protect the soil from wind, snow and ice.In the spring, the leaves can be pulled back, shredded, and then added into the beds for more power for the soil.And, to setting the stage for an amazing raised bed garden next spring and summer. .

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