Preparing the Garden for Winter
Autumn in New Hampshire is gorgeous. Nature’s paintbrush explodes with strokes with orange, red and gold! The air is crisp and the smell of drying leaves and wood burning stoves floats through the fields. Fall is also an important time to begin preparing the garden for winter.
Clean Up the Beds
Pulling up dead plants prevents the spread of disease and insect infestation, and makes things much easier in the spring. I add the old plants and weeds to a compost pile, but it is recommended that you burn these plants if they are showing signs of blight or other disease.
Cultivating the Garden
Once the plants have all been pulled, I till the soil using a cultivator and then add in some compost. Between the horses, goats and chickens we have a lot of manure on hand so there is never a need for us to buy fertilizer. A few wheelbarrows full of the well composted waste helps to protect the soil during the harsh weather ahead.
Mulching with Leaves
There are plenty of leaves to clean up on our farm, and we use the mower to make the task a little easier. A layer of these on the garden bed helps suppress weeds and retains moisture. The leaves will decompose through the spring, further enriching the soil before it is time to plant those first seeds! Preparing the garden for winter is definitely worth the extra effort.