Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > September 2014 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Putting My Vegetable Garden to Bed

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Putting My Vegetable Garden to Bed

I’ve started to pull up spent veggies now—the tomatoes that just don’t seem to have one more bud left on them, the cukes that are finally so overgrown and so tired they’ve stopped, the last crop of bush beans that just don’t have any bean left.  Some of this space is already ear-marked for fall veggies.  I have lettuce, spinach, and kale that I started from seed already growing in one area and broccoli and cabbage “sets” in little pots just ready to put in.

But these cool season veggies won’t take up as much space as my summer veggies did so I’ll have some space leftover.  For any garden space that you’re not going to plant there are a few things you can do now to ensure that your garden is better next season.
Remove all weeds and debris.  Weeds and dead leaves, etc. are ideal hiding places for insect eggs or mold spores, so get them out of there.  I rake and remove any old mulch for the same reason. 

If I had enough garden space to plant a cover crop, I would.  Things like a blend of peas and oats or red clover allowed to grow a few weeks then tilled into the soil add fresh “green” manure to the garden, as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen.  Things like buckwheat and red clover also provide fall food for bees.

I usually top dress my beds with about two to three inches of mixed composts—I use a mixture of mushroom compost and composted cow manure.  I’ll occasionally use leaf compost instead of the mushroom.)  The reason I used mixed composts is that plant based composts add carbon to the soil to aid with soil structure.  Animal based composts (manures) add nitrogen.  I usually use a little more plant based composts than animal based composts.  A small bag or two of green sand or dehydrated kelp is good, too.  It helps to add micro-nutrients to the soil.  I don’t even till it in—I just let it sit over the winter and allow the winter precipitation to wash the nutrients down into the soil.

Over the fall and winter, I’ll periodically check to be sure that the beds stay free of debris and any weeds trying to get a finger hold are disposed of promptly.  I’ll also check on any kale or spinach wintering just to be sure that they’re staying weed and debris-free, too.  
Posted: 9/29/2014 by Bonnie Pega | with 2 comment(s)
I haven't grown a garden in years but I have the desire to start one. I think I may try cold season plants and then prepare my beds for the winter. Great advice
10/9/2014 3:03:46 PM

This is so smart--to prepare your bed for the next season! The composting advice is very helpful!
10/2/2014 8:21:20 PM

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