There is no better time to recharge raised bed garden soil than in late fall!
The spring, summer, and early fall growing season takes a big toll on the soil in raised beds. It takes nutrients to power crops, and as crops grow, they quickly deplete the limited resources available within the ground.
In addition, the structure of the soil begins to break down over time as well. As it does, it becomes harder and harder for plants to hold moisture to their roots, or absorb rain or nutrients. Even when fertilizers are added.
In fact, one of the biggest myths of raised bed gardening is that the soil can be continually kept active by fertilizers alone. Unfortunately, it just isn’t the case.
Without adding valuable humus and organic matter, soil can become lifeless and sterile. But by recharging it in the fall with a little TLC, you can prevent all of the above from happening.
Even more, you can actually improve the soil quality to grow better and better with each passing year. With that in mind, here is a look at 4 simple ways to do give your raised beds back the power they need this fall.
4 Ways To Recharge Your Raised Bed Soil
There is no better way to recharge tired garden soil than with a big dose of compost. Compost is teeming with life. And the active microbes and organic matter in compost re-fills raised beds with intense energy.
From life-supporting nutrients such as calcium, nitrogen and potassium, to a multitude of other trace minerals and elements, compost adds big power to the soil.
But it also adds an incredible amount of humus and structure to the soil as well. And that structure is vital to helping next year’s plants to absorb nutrients and water.
#2 Manure – Fresh Or Aged
Another great additive in the fall to raised beds is fresh or aged manure. Animal manure (chicken, rabbit, cow, horse are among the best) is full of nutrients.
Although fresh manure would burn plants if placed in the beds during or immediately after planting, by mixing it into the soil in the fall, it has time to leach through the soil.
And by next spring, your plants will take off with the added boost of nutrients!
# 3 Plant A Cover Crop
Although many gardeners might think cover crops are only for traditional gardens, that is simply not the case! Raised bed soil left bare for the winter months not only fills with weeds and weed seeds, but also loses a sizable amount of nutrients through erosion.
But cover crops like annual rye or crimson clover can be grown in raised beds soil to protect the surface. Even better, they also give back nutrients when turned over in the spring, or allowed to die off.
#4 Shredded Leaves
And last but not least, don’t forget about all of those falling leaves this fall! They are an incredible easy, powerful, and free source for recharging your raised bed garden soil. See : 5 Great Ways To Use Leaves In Your Landscape
Finely shredded leaves are perfect for mixing into the soil in late fall to add both structure and trace nutrients. In addition, whole or partially shredded leaves are great for covering the surface of the beds.
They form a protective barrier to keep soil loss from wind, snow and erosion – and as they break down, give nutrients back to the soil. Here is to recharging your raised bed soil this fall to grow better than ever next year!
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