Winter can be your garden's friend

22-10-2012
Winter can be your garden's friend

Normally, when we think of winter, images of frost-covered dead plants come to mind. Add to that images of dormant plots or land buried in snow and one would quickly conclude that garden is just the dead zone between the harvest in autumn and new life in spring.

The truth is that the winter can be your friend in preparing your garden plot for spring. How come? You can mobilize your soil's cover crops, microbes, and leaves as a winter army that helps prepare your soil for spring. Unlike human workers, these soil workers work 24/7 and don't ever get tired. As long as you keep them well-provisioned, they will continue to work to your advantage as you wait for the spring. Never think of winter as a dead season again.

To put winter to work for your garden, do the following. Gather fallen autumn leaves and crush or shred them to compost them. These provide a rich carbon input for compost piles. You are also recycling their nutrients. If you compost them.

To boost the microbes in your soil, cut your crops at the soil top level. Leave their roots intact so microbes can snack on them all winter long. Finally, plant some cover crops like legumes which would build up the nitrogen of your soil over the winter. 

By - mobile