Prepare your Garden beds in the Fall

This is one of the best times to prepare a new garden bed or put to rest areas of your garden that may be done for the season. By preparing your garden bed now, you will be ready for an early spring or that first crop of spring peas.

I don’t know about you, but digging the garden bed in April is challenging here. It’s either to wet or too cold. So the “prepared bed” solves this problem.

If you’re putting to “rest” a section of your garden that is done for the season follow these steps.

  • Clean out any old plants
  • Remove any weeds and rocks
  • Add fertilizer or compost.
  • I like to add layers of material that will decompose over the fall and winter such as: old sawdust, chopped leaves, grass clipping and compost. This will add nutrients to the soils and protect the soil from erosion and harsh cold weather. Often I will place clear plastic over this topping to help break down the added materials. In the spring I stir the topping in and the soils is twice as rich and very workable.
  • In the spring stir the new material in. I also stay off the soil and often I will not need to till the soil. At most I just need to break up the soil mix with a spading fork.
  • Smooth the soil in the spring and you’re ready to plant. Again, The unused sections of the garden that I am not ready to plant I will either cover with clear plastic or add more composting materials to break down while waiting for spring planting.

If you’re creating a new garden bed you can till the soil or use a lasagna garden method to create the bed. I have an old garden that really needs an overhaul and has not been used for at least 5 years. I am using a lasagna garden/raised bed method.

The garden area is 20 foot by 30 foot. I have made rectangular raised beds shapes with cement blocks and am filling these areas with compost materials. I will cover these with plastic this fall and remove the plastic in November. At that time I will add 6 inches of fresh compost and ignore until spring.

This garden will be a combination vegetable garden and perennial garden. The perennial garden is for plants I am raising to sell.

Tip: A good-size vegetable garden for a beginner is 10×16 feet. I break a garden this size down into 12 smaller sections. This makes each area easy to maintain as I work one section at a time. It’s also easier to do succession gardening with this method.

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Denise

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