Winter/Fall Garden Prep
A Garden is great, but as gardeners we all realize that all good things must come to an end. At some point the garden will die off, or begin to die off, and you will be left with barren ground. Barren ground is a gardeners worst nightmare. This is because leaving bear ground will result in several things:
1. Errosion in the spring melt
2. Nutrient leaching
3. Radiation from the sun killing beneficial soil microbes
4. A landing spot for weed seeds to lay dormant till spring
All these things and more can cause the ground to become infertile, or less than ideal growing conditions the following year. So what can be done? I have given 3 simple. and economical ways to ensure the health of your garden.
1. Cover Crop A cover crop can be very useful. It is a way to protect againt all of the problems I listed earlier, but it also will have an additional benefit. It will add nitrogen to the soil when tilled under. A good cover crop is legumes, since they will put nitrogen into the soil. Another good kind of cover crop is clover, which you can go to your local hunting supply store and buy clover for deer plots. It is cheap, and very effective.
2. Add hot compost Adding hot compost is the process of adding manure from horses, cows, chickens, or turkeys. They will have very nitrogen rich manure that will burn normal plant roots, but this will surpress weeds due to its hot nature, it will also break down, the worms will feed, and the manure will become safe to use by springtime.
3. Add a tarp For people growing in raised beds, or in mounds, a tarp can cover a large space, and will not only surpress weeds, but it will prevent irrosion, leaching, and weed seeds from coming in.