winterizing the vegetable garden
I was looking at The 2009 Farmers' Almanac and see they are predicting a "numbingly cold and snowy" winter for the Northeast US. OMG! I hope they're wrong. I'm never ready for winter. I keep hoping we'll skip it somehow. Nevertheless, my garden is winterized now.
"How do you winterize you vegetable garden?" I see this question around a lot so here's what I did. (Do you do the same?)
To winterize, I removed all debris and summer plants. I pulled all the squashes and tomatoes and tomato poles and beans, etc. These went into the compost pile and I raked the ground. Since the soil in my community plot is very acidic (low pH - 5.5 last time I send out a sample) I added lime.
I planted a cover crop in the bare areas without fall crops (a mix from Johnny's Selected Seeds called green manure mix, includes field peas, vetch, clover and winter rye). I'll turn this under in the spring. Peas and vetch add nitrogen to the soil, others add organic matter and prevent runoff. I lightly raked in the cover seeds and lime.
Finally I added a good layer of grass clippings or salt marsh hay around my growing fall crops. This should keep the weeds down in this area, retain moisture, and help protect from the very cold weather that will (unfortunately) be here soon. I hope to pick greens into December. Last year my kale was good down to 10 degrees F.
Labels: winter preparation