Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Not Quite The Farmers Daughter

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tip of the week: Fall Garden Clean Out

As many of us know the our gardens are coming to an end.  This is a great time to begin cleaning out your garden for winter.  Currently I still have tomatoes growing, but I know as soon as the first frost hits they will be done for the year.  So what I would suggest is start cutting back over grown herbs that have gone to seed, start cutting down your sunflower stalks that the birds have picked free and clean out vining plants like cucumbers and zucchini that appear to have completed all their production.  If you do composting put all this plant material in your composter, it will make a nutrient rich compost to mix in your soil for the next planting season.

Here are some additional tips you might consider if you have a large backyard garden:

The following is an easy list of things to do:
  • Rake leaves. Left on the lawn, they will cut off sunlight to the grass and trap moisture, encouraging fungus diseases. But don't discard them if you have a place to start a compost pile. Shredded and broken down for a few months, they are prime organic matter to improve your soil.
  • Spread finished compost on perennial, vegetable beds or on the lawn to enrich the soil and make room for the new crop of leaves. Half-finished compost should go back in the pile with the new leaves as well as old annual, perennial and vegetable plants.
  • Weeds may die when frost hits, but their seeds survive in the soil. So pull all you see and discard them in the compost or put them into the landscape waste.
  • Tidy up. Any plant you suspect might be diseased should go in the landscape waste including diseased tree and shrub leaves. Otherwise, removing the stalks and foliage of perennials is a matter of taste: Cut them down if you are the neat type, or leave them if you like the look. Most people leave ornamental grasses standing.
  • Clear out the vegetable garden.
  • Put diseased plants in the landscape waste and the rest in the compost. Dig composted manure or other organic matter into the vegetable bed so by spring it will be nicely broken down in the soil. And once you've tidied up, plant your winter crops.

If you are someone that does a container gardening make sure to take out all dead plant material and dirt.  You will want to wash out your pots and store them for next year.  When doing container gardens you will want fresh dirt every year to ensure healthy growth of your new plants and seeds.

Have a great week!

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