Authored by Jaipi Sixbear in Gardening
Published on 12-18-2009
Winterizing your vegetable garden is a fall necessity. It may not be the most appealing task to winterize a vegetable garden. Why start the new season dealing with piles of rotting vegetation that can spread disease to new plants? Winterize your vegetable garden now for easy spring gardening start up. You will thank yourself later.
The first step in winterizing your vegetable garden is weeding. Weeding in the fall will mean less work weeding in the springtime. Removing weeds in the fall gives them less time to form permanent and stubborn winter roots. Be sure to throw away all winter weed seeds to keep them from regrowing in the spring.
Pull and Toss
Winterize your vegetable garden by pulling up all dead and dying annual plants. Toss any plants that appear diseased in the trash. Using these in the compost heap or keeping them in the garden can spread disease. Be sure any root plants that suffered diseases like late blight are completely removed from the soil and thrown away.
Rake and Trim
Winterize your vegetable garden by trimming all plants, trees herbs and bushes. Deadhead all perennial flowers. Save seeds from anything you wish to re-plant next year. Each plant will carry seed in a different way. Be sure to read up on how to trim each type of plant. Some plants can be harmed by improper trimming. Rake the entire yard and garden to keep grass and soil healthy.
All healthy vegetation from weeding and trimming goes into the compost heap. Avoid getting seed in the compost when you winterize your vegetable garden. Before placing anything in the compost bin, run it over a few times with the mower to chop it up. Keeping vegetation small allows it to break down faster. Vegetable kitchen waste, coffee grounds and eggshells can go into the compost heap.
Fertilize and Till
Fertilizing and tilling while you winterize your vegetable garden is very practical. Give your garden a nutritional boost by fertilizing in the fall. Tilling the ground leaves it loose and nicely aerated for easier spring planting. Using organic compost as fall fertilizer allows you to empty the compost bin to make room for winter compost. Save a step by making your garden the compost heap.
Another great step to winterize your vegetable garden is to plant winter wheat or rye. If you don’t know what this is, make inquiries at your local garden center. Winter wheat and rye are planted at the end of the season. They grow throughout the fall and die off in mid-winter. These crops are tilled into the soil in spring for added fertilization.
Lift or Winterize Bulbs
Any bulbs such as onion or garlic will have to be winterized. This can be done in one of two ways. Winterize your vegetable garden by lifting bulbs and drying for the winter if you think they may need to be sorted and separated. You can also winterize bulbs in the vegetable garden by simply covering with a six inch layer of straw for warmth. Plant fall bulbs now too.
The final step to winterize your vegetable garden is a good layer of mulch. Mulch the garden in all areas where winter wheat or rye have not been planted. Mulch will discourage weed growth. Mulch will also keep composted soil warm and help retain water for natural decomposition. Mulch will provide additional insulation for bulbs as well.
Winterize your vegetable garden to save work in the spring and encourage optimum growth. Remove all weeds to prevent re-growth. Discard any diseased plants. Use healthy annual plants, grass and trimmings as ingredients for compost. Fertilize, till, lift bulbs and mulch as final steps to winterize your vegetable garden.