source: Old World Gardening
There are a lot of garden tasks in the fall that can help to create a healthier, more productive vegetable garden.
But of all, there are 2 that certainly stand out as mattering the most.
If you take a little time to perform both this fall, you set the stage for a more productive garden next year.
#1 Removing All Plants, Foliage & Weeds
Leaving this year’s vegetable plants to overwinter in the garden is simply asking for trouble.
No matter what, get those old, decaying vegetable plants out of the garden!
Unfortunately, all too often, gardeners grow weary of their garden by fall.
Some have grown tired of the battle with weeds or watering. While others have picked so much produce, they simply can’t handle anymore.
As plants sit and decay, bad things begin to happen. Pests in the garden find a more permanent home. And they begin to multiply.
And as they do, they also lay larvae and eggs that overwinter in both the plants and soil.
All of which of course will lead to more pests in next year’s garden.
Encouraging Disease & Blight
But leaving plants in the garden does more than just increase pest populations.
It also allows blight, mildew, and other diseases that affect plants an opportunity to find a permanent home.
#2 – Providing Protection And Nutrients For The Soil
So now everything is cleared out, it’s time to protect and recharge that precious garden soil.
Once a garden has been cleared of it’s foliage, the soil needs to be covered. Either with an organic mulch such as leaves or straw, or by planting a re-energizing cover crop.
Planting A Cover Crop
The best way of all to both protect and re-energize your garden soil in the fall is with a cover crop.
A cover crop grows thick to protect the soil from erosion. All while crowding out existing weeds and new weeds seeds from finding a home.
But best of all, it re-energizes the garden by giving it’s nutrients back to the soil.
We have been using a cover crop of annual rye in our garden now for the last 8 years, and with each passing year, the soil becomes more fertile, more productive, and easier to work.
But one thing is sure when it comes to this fall garden task – whatever you do, whether with leaves, straw, a cover crop – or even a tarp – cover that garden to protect it!