How and When to Prepare Your Garden for the Fall/Winter Season

As our gardens begin to wind down for the season, we are sure many of you are beginning to think about how you can prepare your garden to be successful next season. Fall garden prep may be easy to overlook, but it is very important if you want to have a thriving garden year after year. Fall and winter garden prep is primarily focused on your soil. After a full season of growing delicious fruits and vegetables, the soil in your garden is very likely depleted of nutrients and worn out from the long, hot summer. So, we have provided you with a list of things to do to make sure your garden is equipped for another long, full season next spring!

Remove Any Dead or Dying Plants

This goes for your spent fruit and vegetable plants as well as your weeds! While you may be tempted to compost dead plant material or simply till it into the soil to decompose, this could bring about unforeseen issues next season.

Green tomatoes on a plant

Don’t Compost Your Spent Plants

While it may seem like a great idea to compost spent garden plants so that they can add nutrients back into the soil, enriching it for next season, there are some risks that outweigh the benefits. Especially with plants such as tomatoes and peppers, the likelihood of your plants coming into contact with some sort of disease at some point throughout the growing season is very high. If your tomato plant happened to have a disease, tilling the spent plant or any less than desirable fruit into the soil and allowing it to decompose would pass the disease onto next year's plants through the soil. In this case, you would have to deal with the same issue, but likely on a larger scale.

Remove as Many Weeds as Possible

Similar to composting garden plants, allowing weeds to remain in your garden throughout the winter season will allow them to come back with a vengeance in the following season. Clear out as many weeds as possible to prevent them from going to seed and to keep current weeds from forming deeper roots that will be impossibly difficult to pull in the spring. While this will not keep weeds from growing in your garden altogether, it will keep the weed population at bay instead of doubling the number that pop up as soon as the weather warms.