Prepping my garden for the winter season comes with mixed emotions. I’m always grateful for the generous crop my garden gave me, but a tad bit reluctant to see the gardening season end. Time to put the garden to bed, if you will, and close that gate until spring. Thing is, there is one last task to do for your garden to prepare for the winter season, keep it nourished during the cold months and prepare now for a hearty growth come spring.
First things first, make sure the garden is weeded. An annoying task to say the least, but necessary. Stream a podcast and have that on in the background while you weed. Shouldn’t be too many this time of year as some of the cold snaps should have taken care of most of the weeds for you. Regardless, get rid of them.
Next step is to nourish, and there’s nothing like some good old gourmet dirt. I’m talking about compost, and I wrote all about the benefits of compost and what is and isn’t safe to add to your compost pile. You can read all about it here. Food scraps, leaves, cut grass, all make for good compost. Or, if you have chickens, their waste is like gold to the garden. Another option is to buy manure from the garden center and mix it into the garden beds. It seems a little strange to have to pay for poo, but adding the poo to the garden will end up being a huge pay off in the end, and will make for great growing soil in the spring when you go to plant your garden. Since we have chickens, this is the route I’ve taken this year.
I cleaned out the coop; all of the hay and chicken waste (it was a very smelly job), and distributed the hay and waste among the raised beds in our garden. The waste will drain into the soil to nourish each garden bed, and the hay will provide insulation throughout the winter. In the spring, I’ll just till the hay into the soil, which will help provide a slight weed deterrent.
If you’re nourishing with compost, spread a layer of compost over your garden, and cover with a thick blanket of leaves from your yard. No need to buy hay, the leaves work just as well, and they will decompose and will also add nutrients to your garden.
Now, all you have to do is sit back and wait out the winter. And, while we’re at it, we can start planning for next year’s garden. Because really among us gardeners, putting our garden to bed certainly gives us time to plan for next year. And, we can continue to add to our compost pile and tending to that throughout the winter to be ready for spring planting. March will be here before we know it, when we can start sowing our seeds.