What gives your garden soil a jump start on spring growth? Protecting it with mulch and growing cover crops to restore the health of the soil.
This collection of winter garden prep tips comes from dedicated organic gardeners. You can find all of the tips here.
Winter Garden Preparation: Mulch, Leaves, & Cover Crops
I asked a bunch of garden blog friends for tips on preparing the garden for winter. I received so many great ideas that I decided to create a mini-series covering the various topics.
All of these gardeners are practical and frugal, favouring organic methods that support healthy soil—the foundation of a great garden.
Fall garden tasks are often ignored as we instinctively retreat to the indoors as the weather turns colder, letting the garden fade out.
However, if you can muster the enthusiasm/long johns, the payoff is quite fabulous: healthier plants and soil, gorgeous spring bulbs, masses of fresh garlic in the new year, productive bees, and more.
I hope you’ll find some helpful ideas as well as some new favourite blogs to follow.
Let’s get started with healthy soil. Here’s a few ideas:
1. Pine Needle Mulch | Our Fairfield Home & Garden
- Pine needles make wonderful garden mulch. Organic mulches serve several purposes: they protect the soil during the winter, provide habitat for worms and friends (lots of insects and beneficial bacteria), and gradually break down to add structure and enrich the soil.
- There’s a common gardening myth that the acidity of pine needles is harmful for a garden. Not true! By the time the needles break down, the acid level is insignificant, and there’s plenty of goodness in there.
- See more of Barb’s tips on Tucking In The Winter Garden here….
2. Cover Crops | Learning & Yearning
- Cover crops are plantings used to protect and enrich the soil. You may have noticed farmers using these crops on their fields during the winter. The plants are not actually harvested for consumption but instead are incorporated into the soil, the same way we add compost.
- Cover crops can be planted in the home garden with the same benefits.
- Susan is experimenting both with cover crops and a no-dig garden method for super healthy soil. Find out which cover crop she’s using here: Cover Crop In A No-Dig Garden….
3. Leaves Are Gold In The Garden | Empress of Dirt
- Somehow this crazy tradition started where we rake up leaves, bag them, ship them away, and then buy the equivalent soil enricher in the spring.
- Leaves are actually an incredible resource, providing free mulch for the garden with no shipping involved. Smart and free!
- See how you can use this ‘gold’ in your garden at Are You Throwing Away Garden Gold?….
- Love the beauty of autumn leaves? Try this DIY falling leaves craft!
More Winter Garden Preparation Tips
- Mulch, Leaves, & Cover Crops | Tips 1-3
- Planting Bulbs | Tips 4-10
- Tender Plant Care | Tips 11-15
- Fall Chores Checklists | Tips 16-19
- Tool Care | Tips 20-23
- Pruning & Trimming | Tips 24-32
- Birds & Bees | Tips 33-40
Related: The Most Important Fall Garden Tasks.
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