The Q&A Archives: Plow Under Vs. Scrape Clean At End Of Season

Question: Is it better to plow under or to scrape the garden clean (such as a front end loader would do) at the end of the season? I have done my gardening in a community garden for several years now, the park district cares for it. I think they would listen if I expressed a strong opinion. Most of the plots simply go to weed by the end of the summer. The soil is very clay. My plot is somewhat less so, because I have been adding kitchen scraps and bunny droppings frequently each summer.

Answer: I wouldn't recommend scraping clean with heavy equipment as that will compact the soil, which is not a good thing, especially with heavy clay. Plant roots need an aerated soil to be able to move easily through it. Tilling in leftover vegetable and flower plants would be okay, but I definately wouldn't plow under the weeds, as they produce jillions of seeds which will haunt gardeners for a long time! You're correct that adding organic matter regularly will improve the soil. The best thing would be to compost plant material and add that to the soil. Good luck!

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