|flowering broccoli photo courtesy of: |
Cleaning up the beds is not necessarily about pulling everything up. In fact, leaving some plants standing may actually be beneficial. However, if your potatoes and tomatoes had blight in the late summer, it is critical to remove not just the plants, but the roots as well and dispose of properly. If you had blight, do not use in compost in order to break the cycle of blight.
Meanwhile, any brassicas, including kale, broccoli, radishes and brussel sprouts should be left intact to decompose naturally. They release a natural cyanide compound that kills spring pests such as wireworms.
After the plants are either removed or kept intact, a good layer of mulch or compost will feed the soil and keep it insulated over the winter. Rake leaves and dead groundcover over the plot to give beneficial insects a winter shelter.
Though gardening slows in the winter, it is not the end of the growing season. Instead, consider it a time of renewal and health. Getting your soil properly prepared for next year is the best gift you can give your garden. It's not over, it's just beginning.
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