The Q&A Archives: How Do I Get My Vegatable Garden Ready For Next Year.

Question: What is the best way to prep a garden for next spring? I plan on alot of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers with some corn and maybe strawberries. I was thinking of laying down shreadded leaves and covering them with lime now, then putting some manure and granular fertilizer down in March.

Answer: The best thing to do is to start with a soil test to find out what specific things may (or may not) be needed. This would include information about lime as well as fertilizer. In addition, adding organic matter is always important and it is almost impossible to add too much. You could layer on the leaves or work them lightly into the soil. You could also use a mulch layer or a cover crop of annual rye grass for instance to help protect the garden from soil erosion. This would then be tilled or dug under in the spring to add addtional organic matter. When adding manure, be sure that it is well aged as fresh manure may "burn" plants. Your county extension should be able to help you with the tests and interpreting the results. This is a great time to get that jump on soil preparation!

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