Putting the Garden to Bed


Country MoonThe tomatoes are canned, the corn is frozen, the pantry is full and the garden is a mess, the barren vines and stalks of another productive year in the books. It is tempting at this time to sigh, walk away, shut the gate and forget about the garden until the first seed catalog arrives in January. If you resist this temptation and do a little work now to put your garden to bed properly for the winter, you will be so glad you did come spring.

It doesn’t matter where you live, how big of garden you have or if it is vegetables or flowers, when it is time to plant in spring it seems like it is always a rush to get seed in the ground. The least amount of preparation you have to do then, the better your life will be.

Fall is a great time to be outside on those last warm sunny days and it only takes a little time to prep the garden for spring. Just a few points to consider follow.

woman planting pots in fall
Photo by Alexey Fedorenko/Adobe Stock

Clean Up Old Plants

Old plants…vines left sprawling over the garden, flower stems and plants that have died from frost look untidy. On top of that, they harbor disease, pests and fungus that can become active next season. Even though the insects are gone, the eggs that they have laid on leaves can still be fertile. Removing plant debris prevents them from getting a head start. I had a bad infestation of squash bugs last year. By removing the plants last fall and using pyrethrum this year, I no longer have that problem.

On this same note, now is the time to remove invasive weeds. There are always a few that survive the season. It only takes a couple to produce a whole garden full next year. Be sure and don’t put the renegades in a pile at the edge of the garden or in the compost pile or you will just be moving your problem to a new location.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

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