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|As your fall gardening is winding down, it is time to start thinking about what you will do with your garden over the winter. Sure you can still garden through winter months with cold frames, cloches and row covers growing things like radish, lettuce and kale, but here are some tips if you want to give your garden a jolt for the spring.|
AERATE THE SOIL
The first thing I like to do is pull out my roto-tiller and turn the ground over. If you don’t have a tiller, check out my blog post Choosing the right tiller for your home garden. If you neither own a tiller nor have a desire to use one, a good ole pitch fork will do the same. You simply turn your soil over allowing more air in there.
MIX IN SOME COMPOST/ORGANIC MATERIAL
There are a few things that I do now which help the soil for the spring. Since I have my own compost piles, I take finished compost and mix it into the soil to help bring those nutrient levels back up. This helps add in and attract beneficial microbes, worms and so on.
Through the fall I will take leaves and mix them into the soil as well, which allows them to naturally break down. Again, this helps with nutrient levels. Come spring time, the soil will be rich in everything your plants need.
Now would be the time to add in any fresh farm animal manure to your garden. This will give it plenty of time to breakdown and manures from chickens, horses and cows (to name a few) are a great way to add slow release nitrogen to your soil.
I do this occasionally, about every 3rd year, where I plant a cover crop such as alfalfa, rye, or barley and then come spring time I will till it under. This will mix the cover crop into my soil which adds in a lot nutrients. Some like to let it grow through winter (although it doesn’t really grow in cold temperatures) and plow it under in the spring as temperatures start to rise from freezing, and some like to plow it under right after the first frost sets in.
|Regardless of whether you use just a couple of these tips or all of them, you have to keep working and preparing your soil every year to ensure that your home grown vegetables, fruits and herbs will produce abundantly, season after season.|
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