The first hard frost has hit, garden harvesting has come to an end. It’s clearly time to close the garden gate, and knit by the woodstove until spring…Or is it?
Even into late November and early December, I find myself going into the garden every few days, doing all the many necessary tasks to put the garden to bed.
One of my least favorite tasks is clearing out dead plant material, but it’s an important step in preventing disease and leaves my beds clean and ready to plant in the spring.
Plants that are free of disease or pests go right on top of my compost pile. Currently I have three piles – one that is a few months along, a second for food scraps and quick-composting items, and a third (right) for woody stems and large plants like tomatoes that need longer to break down.
After clearing out the bed, I like to take immediate action to prepare the beds for spring. I cover them with a deep layer of compost or well-composted manure, and then top them with a deep layer of straw. Come March, all I need to do is rake away the mulch, let the soil warm a bit, lightly till the soil with a digging fork and perhaps another few scoops of compost, and plant!
I’m also creating new sheet mulch beds with the “lasagna garden” method. Layers of manure and straw over cardboard will decompose over the winter and be ready for planting in the spring.
Finally, I’m enjoying the half dozen or so kale plants that survived the 100 degree heat of late August and the multitudes of cabbage worms that have threatened their very existence. Having put a lot of effort and energy into keeping them alive, I’m enjoying them more than ever!
What’s happening in your November garden?