Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > October 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Tucking Your Vegetable Garden In

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Tucking Your Vegetable Garden In

I have two raised beds that I plant my veggies in—as well as assorted pots.  Every fall, one vegetable bed gets elected to keep on going with kale, spinach, snap peas, carrots, etc.  The other raised bed “goes to bed.” 

To put a garden plot to bed for the winter can mean one of two things.  Sometimes I plant a cover crop like buckwheat or red clover the first of September(I particularly like the red clover) and turn it under just after the first frost.  Usually, I do what I did this year—topped it with a bag of Green Sand, two inches each of mushroom compost and leaf compost and two inches of composted cow manure. 

Remember that ratio—one part animal based compost—like composted cow manure—and two parts plant based composts.  If you use too much manure, which is high in nitrogen, you run the risk of having great foliage on your tomatoes and peppers, but less fruit.  I don’t turn it under or till it in.  I just let it sit and every time it rains, all winter long, it’ll wash those nutrients down into the soil.  Come spring, I turn it over and plant.  Next year, the other raised bed will get to rest.

For the pots that grew herbs, a cherry tomato, and peppers on my deck, the plants stay until our first frost, then I pull them out and add a little compost and maybe even some earthworm castings to the top so it can work down into the soil over the winter.  Some of these pots may get to work over the winter growing tulip and daffodil bulbs with pansies on top.

Now is a good time, while the memory is fresh, to think about any problems you had this summer.  If you had diseases on any plants, remember that and next summer, plant something else there.  Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant and tomatillos are all related.  If you had a problem with any one of those do not grow them in the same place next year—same with cucumber family members (cukes, melons, pumpkins, squash).  You can plant green beans there or any cucumber family members because they aren’t prone to the same problems.

If you had insect pests, it can also help to plant something else there next summer.  If you had squash bugs, then plant tomatoes there next year.  When the squash bugs hatch hungry and looking for squash, all they’ll find is tomatoes and maybe move on if the squash are planted a few rows away.

This year I’m definitely going to plant squash someplace else—maybe in the other raised bed.  Maybe in Chicago!  Because I was so busy this summer, I was not as diligent as I should have been early in the season when I saw the first little nymphs hatching ready to lay eggs.  I might even skip planting them next summer and buy at our Farmers  Market instead (every Thursday from 10 until 2).

Whatever you do with your vegetable garden over the winter do not allow weeds, debris, or dead garden veggies sit in it all winter long.  That just gives mold spores a plant to attach and insects a place to lay eggs.
Posted: 10/17/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnies, Garden, vegetables
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