Unfortunately, the warmth of summer is slowly fading, and soon, fall will be upon us. Before the cold months get here, it’s important to protect your backyard produce. Here are three ways to prepare your garden for the winter.

Soil Amending

Soil amending, the process of implementing organic fertilizers such as manure, compost, kelp, rock phosphate, and bone meal, is often conducted in the spring. This is because soil amending helps boost the health and effectiveness of your garden, leading to a more productive yield. However, doing this during the early fall can ensure your soil remains fertile and active throughout the dormant winter months. Always amend your soil before planting cover crops to prevent amendments from washing away during storms.

Dead Plant Removal

Many green-thumbed enthusiasts choose to leave dying plants in their gardens, allowing them to rot and provide the soil with enriching nutrients. However, we recommend you simply remove any and all deceased crops. This is because some rotting vegetation could contain funguses, pests, and devastating diseases. These unwelcomed hazards could completely wipe out the rest of your plants! If you notice sickly, rotting plants in your plot of land, remove them as soon as possible.

Cover Crops

Cover crops include vetch, clover, and rye. Sowing these crops into your garden can help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter activity within beds, and even loosen compacted areas of your plot. Cover crops such as legumes (filed peas, clover, etc.) actually boost the nitrogen levels for vegetable gardens. We recommend planting these cover crops at least a month before the first killing frost unless your specific seeds require something different.

Tool Maintenance

Once you’ve spent time setting your physical garden up for the winter months, it’s time to pay attention to your tools. After months of use, your equipment will require some basic maintenance. Specifically, it’s essential that you sharpen and lubricate your hand tools during the early fall. This elongates your equipment’s lifespan significantly. Wash dirty tools and dry them thoroughly, and remove any rust with the use of a wire brush or sandpaper. Oil any metal parts to prevent oxidation issues.

These processes and techniques are the most effective ways to prepare your garden for the winter. When it comes time to plant new vegetables, purchase yourself a quality all-in-one seed kit here at ARK Heirloom Seeds!