When summer at last gives way to autumn and the vegetable garden winds down for the growing season, a gardener must turn his attention to preparing for winter. Proper autumn preparation of a garden will enable you to work your garden earlier in the spring because the soil will be better prepared for planting. If you plow under garden weeds in the fall along with other garden growth that is finished for the season, the remnants of these plants will help to nourish and improve the soil.
Use a Rototiller
Set the rototiller to a depth of approximately 3 to 4 inches. It is not necessary to cultivate the soil any deeper than this before winter.
Operate the rototiller over the entire growing area to plow under the weeds and work the soil.
Leave the soil in this rough and uneven condition throughout the winter months. Exposing the soil to the winter elements in this condition will help to prepare and improve the soil for spring planting.
Use a Garden Fork
Insert the garden fork straight down into the soil approximately 2 inches. Step on the fork with one foot and drive it at least 4 inches into the soil.
Push down the handle of the garden fork back toward the soil to force it to loosen the soil above the tines of the fork. Continue pushing until the soil loosens and the fork comes back out of the soil with soil on top of the tines of the fork.
Turn the tines of the garden fork over to replace the turned soil back onto the ground.
Reposition the garden fork immediately to the side of the soil you just loosened and repeat steps one through three to continue loosening the soil.
Repeat steps one through four to turn under the garden soil and work the garden weeds into the soil. Continue until you have worked the entire area.