The Q&A Archives: Fall Garden Preparation

Question: What is the proper thing to do in the fall to prepare the garden and replenish all the spent nutrients for next year's planting?

Answer: One of the best things you can do is run some basic soil tests and see how your soil really is. Based on the results you will know better what amendments and/or fertilizers are needed. Your County Extension (566-0673) should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

In general though, there are several steps to take every fall. One is to clean up and remove all plant debris, being sure to destroy it if it is disease or insect infested. This type of sanitation goes a long way toward keeping plants healthy each year. You can also work in ample quantities of organic matter such as compost, stable manure and bedding, chopped leaves or whatever you have available. Finally, it is a good idea to use either a mulch or a cover crop to limit soil erosion during the winter. This can be worked into the soil to help "feed" it in the spring.

If you can do all that, you should have a great garden the following year -- not to mention much less work to do in the spring.

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