Friday, October 15, 2010

Preparing the Garden for Winter

Our garden continued to produce a bounty of veggies in September but begins to wind down in October.  Last Saturday, a large work crew prepared the garden for closing for the season.  

Closing the garden for the season means planning for next spring. Because we had a wet spring this year, we were not able to get compost into the garden.  So we took advantage of the dry, sunny weather in October to have 3 cubic yards of compost delivered and then spread it to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 inches over the garden.  We'll till it in next spring although it would have been fine to till it in this fall.  Next year, our plants will appreciate the nutrients and improved soil structure that compost provides.

Three cubic yards doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot as you can see in this picture. It's best to spend some time doing the math anytime you order garden materials by the cubic yard.  There are several bulk material calculators available online; we used our compost supplier's at

Before we spread the compost, we removed the plants that were done for the season and took them to the compost pile.  But because tomatoes can harbor diseases that can wipe out our crop next season, we took them elsewhere for composting.  The tomato vines are also slow to compost which is another reason to not put them in your garden compost pile.  

Many of our cool season crops will continue to produce through the light frosts of fall.  The broccoli and cabbages we planted in early August are not quite ready but the mustard greens we planted in the heat of summer have been prolific for several weeks.