What to do with Your Vegetable Garden at the End of the Season
At the end of a long and productive vegetable gardening season, you may find yourself with a tired and worn out garden. While you’ll certainly have many delicious vegetables to enjoy, it is essential that the soil is maintained for future gardening. Follow the below steps to make sure your vegetable garden is rested and ready for another planting session.
It’s important to clean up the garden at the end of the season. Remove all weeds, plant debris, and other waste. Try to leave the top layer of soil intact as roots of plants can act as natural composters. Rake the area to loosen soil, but don’t damage roots.
Assess the Soil
Now that the garden bed is clean, you can examine the soil. Take note of any dark or light patches, or areas of compaction, as these can indicate soil drainage problems. Take a soil sample to your local garden center and get advice on how you may need to adjust your soil and the type of fertilizer.
Mulching your garden is an important protective and nourishing process. It can help to improve soil fertility, suppress weeds, retain moisture and stop soil erosion. Spread a good quality organic mulch in an even layer to help improve soil health and your vegetable garden.
Fix Drainage Problems
If you have identified drainage issues in your garden, it is important to address these before planting in spring. Poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, so you’ll want to make sure that any water can freely flow through the garden bed. Adding sand, compost and other organic matter can help improve drainage, as well as raising the bed by a few inches.
Plan for the Next Season
Once the garden has started to look neat and tidy, it’s a good idea to plan for the next season. Make a list of vegetables you would like to grow and think about companion planting ideas. Additionally, start collecting seeds and planning crop rotation and succession planting. Now is a great time to peruse seed catalogs and get ideas.
To finish up, add a few final touches to make sure the soil will stay in good condition throughout winter. Try planting cover crops, like clover or grassy wheat, to add organic matter to the soil and suppress weeds.
By following these few steps you’ll be setting your vegetable garden up for a successful and bountiful season. For more advice on vegetable gardening, please visit our blog.