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Published on September 30th, 2013 | by Tara O'Brien

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Tips to Prepare your Garden for Winter

A lot of people use raised garden beds to plant vegetables in during the summer time. This is an inexpensive and clean looking way to have your own organic produce fresh and close by. What many people forget about is the health of the soil in their bed. Once the bed stops producing for the season they walk away, letting leaves and snow blanket the bare soil. This leads to the depletion of soil microbial life and available nutrients for the net growing season. Taking these few steps prepare your garden for winter will put your beds to sleep properly for the next growing season. Not only will this save the health of the soil, it will only take you about one more day of playing in the soil.

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  1. Break up and till in all of the dead organic matter. Roots, leaves, and rotten vegetables all play an important part in contributing to soil health. By breaking up the soil in your bed and mixing in all the old material you’re giving the microbiology something to feed on during the winter months. Don’t till in old vegetables if you don’t want to have volunteer plants springing up once the weather gets nice again.
  2. Put down a one-inch layer of compost. Adding in beneficial microorganisms for the upcoming months will help with the decomposition of all the organic matter in your soil. Some of the most biologically active months in soil are during the winter months.
  3. Cover the soil with a thick layer of straw, old hay or old dead grass clippings. Covering the soil will help keep some of the heat generated by the microbes in the compost and soil in the ground. This allows your microbes to be more active and free up more nutrients for the start of the growing season.

Now when the next growing season comes along all you will have to do is peal back the layer of straw, loosen the soil, lay down some compost and plant. Happy gardening!

Carrots image and garden box image from Shutterstock.





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