Autumn is here, and its time to head out and perform the all-important fall garden clean up!
Clearing out and cleaning up the garden may seem like small potatoes, but it has a huge impact on the health and vitality of next year’s garden. A proper fall garden clean up will help keep disease at bay, eliminate future weeds, and rebuild and rejuvenate soil. And there isn’t a gardener around that couldn’t use that kind of help!
Here are some key tips for getting the most from your fall garden clean up!
3 Keys To A Great Fall Garden Clean Up
#1 Clear Out Plants
First and foremost, all plants need to go! Clear out the remaining plants in the garden, making sure to remove the roots of plants as well.
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is to leave spent vegetable plants in the ground too long.
Plants left past their prime, or worse, all winter long, are detrimental to a garden’s long-term health and productivity.
They become a refuge for pests to nest, lay eggs and multiply. In addition, decaying plants can easily spread mold, mildew and blight to the soil. The longer they stay in the ground, the more the likelihood.
Beyond those issues, old vegetables left to rot and decay cause their own set of problems. As they drop to the soil. they become an easy food source to unwanted insects. This only helps their cause to multiply.
The rotting vegetables also leave behind seed cores. Those seed cores embed into the soil, becoming next year’s volunteer seedlings. Seedlings that compete for nutrients with newly planted vegetables.
Cover The Soil
Soil left bare after the garden season and throughout the winter is a big no-no. Garden soil is precious, and leaving it exposed means losing that valuable topsoil to winters wind, rain and snow.
Open soil is also an open invitation for weed seeds to blow in and take hold. And that means even more weed pulling next year.
By covering your garden with either a thick mulch or a live cover crop, you keep soil in place, and weed seeds out.
Shredded leaves, straw, and grass clippings are all excellent choices for mulching open soil.
One of the best ways to cover a garden is with an over-wintering cover crop. Cover crops not only blanket the garden in a protective mass of vegetation, they also help to fix nitrogen in the soil ,and recharge and rebuild soil. See : How To Plant A Cover Crop
Feed That Compost Pile!
Autumn is the perfect time to build or feed your compost pile.
There are a whole host of available ingredients at your fingertips. Spent hanging baskets, container plants and plantings, leaves, grass clippings and garden vegetation are all excellent adds to the fall compost pile.
As you add materials to build your fall pile, chop and cut them to help speed the decomposition process. Most piles will stay active until late in the fall or early winter. Cutting up the materials before you add allows for more surface area to be exposed, which in turns helps the pile break down faster.
Compost is one of the best ways to build nutrients healthy soil in the garden. And creating a pile in the fall means ready-made compost for next spring and early summer plantings.
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