What Your Garden Needs Before Winter | Living the Country Life
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What Your Garden Needs Before Winter

Winter vegetable garden prep goes a long way toward promoting armloads of produce next season.
  • A Little Does a Lot

    Winter vegetable garden prep goes a long way toward promoting armloads of produce next season. After the harvest of the last tomatoes and winter squash, Dr. Alison O'Connor, horticulture agent with Colorado State University Extension in Larimer County, recommends you cut down foliage and add it to a compost pile. Be sure to remove and discard diseased or insect-riddled foliage first; toss all other stems and leaves into the composter.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 9, 2018
  • Think Twice About Tilling

    Next, focus on soil improvements that will lead to a great crop next summer. Some gardeners like to till or plow in fall, but O'Conner rarely recommends it. "Annual tilling may not be necessary," she says. "It's easy to destroy soil structure and texture with overtilling or by working the soil when it's too wet."

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 9, 2018
  • Know What You're Dealing With

    Instead she suggests improving soil structure with compost and cover crops. "Begin by getting a soil test done by a professional lab, so you have an idea of what is going on with your garden soil," she says.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 9, 2018
  • Set Up For Success

    Make improvements as suggested by the test, adding organic material, in the form of compost or cover crops, as needed. O'Connor prefers plant-based compost, but well-decomposed animal manure works, too. Cover crops, such as oats, winter rye, and winter wheat, are seeded in fall and turned or tilled into the soil in spring. The green plant parts fill the soil with beneficial organic matter while the plant roots break up clay. Build great soil this winter and your garden will reward you next year.

    Date Published: November 2, 2018
    Date Updated: November 9, 2018

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