Garden steps to ensure a healthy, productive garden next year
Wintertime. Eeeek! I bet you’re feeling the same… especially if you’ve been spending most of your days in the shade of your gorgeous little green paradise.
Still, there’s no use in crying over it, right? If anything, with the time passing by so quickly, it’s going to be summertime quicker than we know and we’ll run back to our garden prepared for all that’s coming. Naturally, this will be happening only, ONLY if you start doing all the right things NOW to really jump-start your 2017 garden.
Clean Out the Weeds from This Year’s Garden
In life, and in gardens – all good things start with a little de-clutter; to keep your garden healthy, you should clean out all the weeds (that have probably dug deep roots by now) and prevent them from seeding further, digging deeper roots.
Don’t Compost Your Tomato and Pepper Plants
Usually, we compost everything we can, thinking it’s the best thing to do for our seedlings; however, when it comes to tomato and pepper plants, they are not to be composted but rather thrown on your burn pile and burned with fallen sticks, and other dry plants. Burning them is a sort of prevention, making sure there’s a lower chance for some plant disease to get passed through to the soil for next year. In addition, the damaged fruit still on the plants is something you should keep away from your compost pile.
Put Rose Shrubs to Bed
All throughout the fall, your roses will stay healthy if you water them regularly and clean the weeds out. There’s no need to fertilize starting six weeks before the first frost, so enjoy your rose bush for as long as you can.
After the first frost, the important thing though is to remove any dead or diseased canes; in areas where winter temperatures are severe, protect your roses with a sturdy cylinder of mesh or chicken wire and fill the protected space with chopped leaves, mulch, compost, dry wood chips, or pine needles.
Add Organic Matter Now
Compost and chopped leaves are the stars of the show; your raised garden beds will love a generous amounts of compost, and your falling leaves will appreciate it if you start collecting them as soon as they hit the land. You can even be a good neighbor and help out – go around the block and help your neighbors collect the bags or piles of leaves that accumulate at the curb, whether using a push mower or your hands. You can hire JNS skip bins to store the leaves so that you can use it afterwards. The saved leaves should be as mulch on your beds over the winter; this will help keep valuable soil from eroding.
Plant a Cover Crop
Your garden will immensely benefit from a good cover crop; valuable organic material will be added to your soil along with the plant-loving nitrogen – since the plants break down. Before you start planting in the spring, you can turn under your cover crop; the cover crop won’t become weeds as long as you use an annual rye.
Mow the Lawn
Make sure you mow the lawn as late into the fall as the grass grows; when left too long to welcome the deep snow, the grass can develop brown patches in the spring. Don’t forget to drain the fuel tank on your lawn mower as well as on any other power equipment to prevent rust.
These garden steps we’ve singled out are all great ways to ensure a healthy, productive garden next year; what’s even better, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals and fertilizers and you’ll still have a wonderful green oasis to come back to in the spring.
Images via Diana Smith, the author of this article, is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls. Diana is interested in topics related to home improvement and DIY.
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