After the final harvest of the year, it will be time to winterize your garden. I promise not to be surprised or offended if some of you don’t know that winterizing the garden is a thing. It seems like a lot of people don’t. However, when you winterize your garden, you get a great head start on the next growing season.
Winterize Your Garden for an Amazing Spring
When you winterize your garden, you get a spring with less work, more planting, and healthier plants. Here’s how.
Don’t Throw Out Spent Veggie Plants
This is important. I see so many gardeners pulling up their vegetable plants and pitching them after the growing season is over. Don’t do that! Instead, keep them in the garden, so that they can decompose and return nutrients back to the soil. The stalks, leaves, and stunted fruits that always accompany the end of the growing season will add nutrients as well as composting material and help keep the soil loose. Just remember to pull up corn stalks. Those are just too tough and fibrous.
Which brings us to my next point.
Lay Down Compost.
One key step to remember when you winterize your garden is compost. Hopefully, you have a compost pile or a composter which you’ve been using all season. There’s gold in there! If you have it, lay down a 2 or 3 inch layer of compost across the entire garden. Just throw it right on top of the old vegetable plants.
The two previous tips on how to winterize your garden go hand in hand with this one. After you’ve laid down a layer of compost – or if you don’t have any, just left your old plants in the garden – till it all in. This will evenly distributed all the good stuff throughout the soil. Remember to till to a depth of about 12 inches. A lot of gardeners say 6 inches, but I’ve found that 12 inches helps to increase drainage and aeration.
Black Landscape Fabric
This is the final step to properly winterize your garden. Put a layer of black landscape fabric across the entirety of your garden bed. Black landscape fabric will soak up sun and transfer heat to the bed. It will also help retain heat. It’s woven, which means that water can pass through to keep the soil moist as well.
This does a couple of things. It helps with further breakdown of the compost and old vegetable plants that you tilled into the soil. That means richer dirt for the next season. It also allows you to begin planting your garden sooner. Remember the heat transfer and retention I just mentioned? Landscape fabric and increase a garden’s soil temperature by several degrees, meaning that you can plant seed and plants earlier.
Winterize Your Garden Now for A Better Start Later
With these four tips to winterize your garden, you can get a jump start on the next growing season with tasty dirt for your hungry plants and an early planting season so they have longer to grow. This extra grow time is especially important for those of you who like to do a fall garden as well.
If you want a garden that’s ready and raring to go next spring, winterize it this season. You WILL see results.