By Colleen Vanderlinden Organic Gardening Expert Taken from
The planting is done, and many of us are harvesting the last of the vegetables from the garden during October and November. This time of year is all about getting ready for next year. It may be strange to think about spring planting already, but the things you do in your garden before winter hits will make spring gardening much easier. Here are some things to do in your garden before the snow flies:
•In vegetable garden beds, be sure to remove old plants, as well as any foliage that has fallen on the soil. Do a final weeding, and mulch the bed with straw, grass clippings, or chopped leaves. These mulches can be turned into the soil next spring to help fertilize next year's crops.
•In perennial beds, weed and give everything a good layer of mulch. After the ground has frozen, mulch around the crowns of your plants to reduce the chance of frost heaving.
•Mow the lawn one last time. You can also spread compost over the lawn to get it off to a good start next spring. Spread corn gluten meal if you have problems with crab grass.
•Pick up any fallen fruit around fruit trees. This helps reduce the chance that pests such as apple maggot and coddling moth will overwinter and wreak havoc next year.
•If you are planning on making new garden beds, or expanding current ones, why not do it now and save yourself some work during the hectic spring gardening season? You can make a lasagna bed, or just cover an area of grass with thick newspapers and mulch, and you'll have an area ready to amend and plant next spring -- without having to remove sod!
•Bring in any pots that can't take a freeze -- terra cotta, ceramic, and many plastic pots.
Taking care of these chores now will save you time in spring, and help reduce the amount of pest and disease problems you'll have to deal with next year. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa