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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Think green thoughts