Some of us have backyards, and some of us have valiantly tried some gardening in them. Actually, some of us have done very well. We’ve all been given those bags full of tomatoes and zucchinis courtesy of backyard gardeners who were more successful than they ever dreamed. But then summer comes to an end, and we think more about keeping our family indoors. Sometimes we get so busy cleaning for the winter that we forget to take care of that garden. Then we look out at the barren mess and pray for snow to cover the sight. [photo via wikimedia]
Well, this is the time to go out to the garden for one last clean-up. The weather is getting cooler, and it’ll feel more like a fun day out than labor under the hot sun–or in the chilling winds. Fortunately, you can get a lot done in just one afternoon of clearing out your garden. Technically, it’s even part of gardening. A lot of that debris is dead branches and other stuff that’s fallen by the wayside during the summer. Often, that’s because of plant diseases and garden pests. Leaving that debris out for the winter is going to make it harder for the garden to produce in the spring.
So you’ll begin by pulling up your garden. This means the plants, the weeds, everything–right down to the weeds. If you can tell what’s healthy amongst your debris, then put it aside to shred and have compost over the garden area. Otherwise, bag it all up as trash. You’ll want to use a rake to get up all the bits of rot.
Now’s a good time to till the soil one more time, as well. It helps you to be sure that you’ve cleared everything out, and you’re also making the soil healthier for next year. Keep raking to get up all of the leaves that have fallen down lately. You can run a lawn mower over those and make a mulch to also put over the gardening bed. You can also add some 5-10-10 fertilizer. That’s specially made to provide your soil with a healthy dose of nitrogen.
The really good news is that we’re not going to advise you to put up some plastic tarp or consider some winter gardening. Just get that soil and compost looking nicely even. It’ll warm your heart looking out at it during those cold winter months–especially knowing that you’ve exposed any lingering pest to those evil elements. Then just dream of your healthy garden for next year.