Dunnville Horticulture Society

Preparing your soil for next season

By Brad and Susan Emery

To The Haldimand Press

Although the garden harvest is pretty much picked over at this time of the year, gardening tasks are still ongoing and it’s not time just yet to close the garden gate. There will be a new season in just months, and you want the soil to be as ready as you are for planting in the spring. 

So, what are some ways to prepare your garden soil for winter? 

Clean up diseased plants and leave the rest in place. Spent plants left in place only add nutrients to your soil, but if you noticed any signs of disease over the season and it hasn’t been dealt with, now is the time to remove it. 

Now is the time to remove invasive weeds – dig them up and put them in the trash or underneath tarps or garden cloth. Try to remove them completely if possible and avoid throwing them into your compost heap or weed pile as they will likely grow from there. 

Amend your soil for spring. Fall is a great time to add soil amendments like manure and compost, or organic fertilizers such as bone meal, kelp, and rock phosphate. 

Once you’ve amended the soil, you can mulch your soil or sow a cover crop to prevent it from washing the amendments below the active root zone. 

Replenish or add mulch as winter mulch has many of the same benefits as summer mulching. These include reducing water loss, protecting soil erosion, and inhibiting weeds. Adding a thick layer of mulch to the soil surface helps regulate soil temperatures and moisture, eases the transition into winter, can help lingering root vegetables buffer against hard frosts, and prolong your crop. Plus, as it starts to break down it incorporates fresh organic material into the soil. What’s not to like about mulching? 

One of my favourites is reviewing and assessing this garden season so that we can plan out next year’s garden. 

Susan and Brad Emery are members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS). DHS is resuming its in-person meetings starting with its annual general meeting on November 25 (7 p.m.) at the Optimist Hall. There will 2022 memberships on sale at the event. Keep up with DHS on Facebook or at dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. You can also contact president Deb Zynomirski for more information: debzyn@gmail.com. Think green thoughts

Dunnville Horticultural Society update

DUNNVILLE—The Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) has installed a beautiful, decorative lighthouse close to the bridge. Dedicated to Dunnville’s citizens, it pays homage to the Grand River, Lake Erie, and our nautical roots. DHS hopes everyone will enjoy it! —Haldimand Press photo by Deb Zynomirski.

At long last, together again! Just as the weather is turning colder, we have some warm news! After 21 long months of foregoing our monthly program nights, Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS) is set to resume meeting in person. And to kick things off with a bang, we welcome back our members for our annual general meeting on November 25, 2021. We will meet at the Dunnville Optimist Hall at 7 p.m. Although we will have to forego our normal potluck dinner, light refreshments will be served. A special speaker is also on tap, along with great giveaways. COVID vaccine passport and masks will be required. We look forward to welcoming back our members!

Many of you may also have noticed our latest addition to Dunnville’s landmarks. In the East Bridge Garden, we have erected a gorgeous red lighthouse feature. This decorative lighthouse is dedicated to Dunnville’s citizens – past, present, and future. It also pays homage to the Grand River, Lake Erie, and our nautical roots. We hope it will stand as a sentinel and gateway marker to Dunnville for many years to come.

Finally, I wish to thank the 2021 DHS board of directors who worked tirelessly to hold things together for our club throughout the pandemic: Susan Emery, Nelly Engelage, Petra Kruis-Daly, Angela Latham, Wray McLean, Sharon Sykes, and Debbie Thomas. In 2022 we welcome the following new board members: Mike Lessard, Melanie Ruigrok, and Jordan Wagter. We are looking forward to resuming our regular activities in 2022!