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Prepare your garden now for the winter so it will be ready in the spring


Date Posted: October 22, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Prepare your garden now for the winter so it will be ready in the spring
photo credit: IStockPhoto

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.

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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.

COVER CROPS


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.


Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!


Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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