GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The growing season is over so it’s time to put the garden to bed for the winter. There are a few tasks now to make next season the best it can be.
First clean up. But don’t rip the dead plants out of the ground. Instead, cut them off at soil level. This leaves the roots in place as a food source for all the beneficial microbes that are living amongst them. Your soil will be healthier next season.
If the above ground parts were healthy, either leave them in place as mulch, or compost them. If they were diseased, like these tomatoes had blight, burn them or throw them away. Do not compost them.
Dig out any perennial weeds like dandelions, thistles and grass that will come back bigger and stronger next year.
Here I like to give the soil a good torch to kill any weed seeds that may be living on the soil surface.
Next up, fertilizer. Spread manure or compost across the garden. You can choose to till it in if you wish but there’s no need. Then adding a layer of leaf mulch of straw on top will help keep nutrients in.
Last, make yourself a note to remember where everything was planted this year. This will help you rotate crop locations next year.