How to Prepare Garden Beds for Winter

Views: 17783 | Last Update: 2008-06-16
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Tia Pinney

Video Transcript

Once the growing season is over for your particular vegetables, you want to set your garden up so that it will be in the best shape that it can be next Spring and that takes a short amount of planning in the Fall. So once you have harvested your vegetables, whatever they are, you want to come in and make sure there is nothing left in your bed in terms of anything, any weeds, any leftover plants, you just pull all of the weeds out. We tend to have a problem with extra grass growing up in our beds here. So once you've done that, you set up your bed, you get it nice and smooth, you rake over a little bit of soiled to one side and then you plant a cover crop. A cover crop is the best thing you can do. You can lay down a layer of leaf mulch, things like that but I really prefer to use a cover crop because next Spring what you will do is turn that cover crop back into the ground and it will be green manure. It will be fertilizer for your garden next year. Now what I like to use for a cover crop, this is oaks and buckwheat. I like to use oats because it is easier to turn under than rye. I know a lot of people use winter rye. Winter rye is a hard set of roots to turn when you are working by hand in particular. So I am just tossing on some oats and buckwheat here. You can see a very random pattern. Buckwheat is good because it grows quickly and it will decompose quickly so that you will have a nice green decomposing material next year for your plants to grow. And you take some of this dirt that you had saved and you can just scatter it over the top a little bit and you will go back to your rake and this is mostly to keep birds and things out. You will go back to your rake and turn your rake upside down, move your dirt back and forth. If you want to cover it completely, that is up to you. It really doesn't have to be. If you have a lot of birds around, covering up completely will certainly save your seeds and then just take your rake again, tap your seed down in and show it is nice and firm all the way around. If it is nice and dry, you can water this. It will grow quite well. Come the first hard frost these plants will die and then next Spring you can turn them under. But meanwhile they've blocked out weeds and they will give you fertilizer in your next growing season.