The garden season has come to an end and it is time to put our gardens to bed. With help from my husband this afternoon, we are going to pull up the old plants and vines (tomato, beans, cucumber and squash to name a few), cover the strawberry bed, mulch the blueberries, and trim the raspberry canes.
If you have a backyard garden, or a raised bed, you might want to leave a few things in the ground; like carrots, garlic, parsnips and turnips. You can protect these vegetables with a heavy layer of mulch to extend their stay in the garden. Here in Minnesota we can get snow in October, so mark your rows with a tall stake.
To clean off your garden, start with removing the old plants and vines. If the plants are diseased, discard them. If not, you can compost them. Once the garden is cleaned off, add a layer of compost, leaves or other soil amendments and gently till into soil.
If you have a strawberry bed, cover the bed with a 3 to 5 inch layer of straw. Your strawberry bed should be acclimated to cool weather before mulching.
It’s also time to cover your blueberries with a thick layer of pine needles and prune your raspberries, leaving the strongest canes for next year.
If you have an apple tree that has produced apples for the season, pick up all the apples from the ground and discard. This will help with insect control.
For container gardeners, it is time to empty the containers and store them for the winter. If you have herbs outdoors in containers, bring them indoors before they are damaged by frost.
Every year, as we finish cleaning the garden out, I reflect on the fruits of our labor. For years, we have enjoyed countless meals of fresh fruits and vegetables for the whole family to enjoy. Having a garden is work, but the benefits far outweigh the labor involved.
Interested in starting a garden or looking for tips on gardening? Check out our book, Eating Pure in a Processed Foods World ®.