lily51
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How do you put your garden "to sleep"?

There's still some time left this year, but fall is around the corner. How do all of you put your garden to rest for winter? Anything special to prevent weeds in the spring? I would love just once to get out there in the spring to a garden that's ready to go...is that possible? Much better to do the work now so can enjoy later.

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rainbowgardener
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Well some people don't exactly put it to "sleep." We have a big long thread going here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=156926&highlight=winter+crop#156926

about fall crops and winter cover crops. You could consider planting a cover crop, like clover or alfalfa which are nitrogen fixers. Then in the spring, you cut them down and/or turn them under.

Otherwise, I just cut off all the dead/finished stuff (you can leave the roots to decompose in the ground) and cover it with a good layer of mulch (leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, whatever organic you have). The mulch keeps weeds from getting started and adds to the soil when it breaks down.
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TZ -OH6
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Worms do most of their growing in the off season, so covering your garden with a deep layer of fall leaves gives the babies a good food supply during the cold months, keeps weeds down and prevents soil compaction from rain.

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engineeredgarden
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All of the plants are removed and disposed of in an area away from the garden. A liberal spraying of aggressive insecticide is applied to the pile, which should help decrease the number of pests the following year.
Because most pests overwinter in the ground, I'm thinking about fluffing the soil of the entire garden down to about 3" this year, then spraying it too. Never done it before, but it's bound to be helpful.....

EG

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microcollie
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Location: Western MA

I tend to leave as much standing as I can. Birds and other wildlife enjoy seeds, fruits, and protection from the elements that are left above the snow cover. I do remove anything know to be diseased. Quite a few things can be quite attractive in the winter garden.

engineeredgarden wrote: Because most pests overwinter in the ground, I'm thinking about fluffing the soil of the entire garden down to about 3" this year, then spraying it too. Never done it before, but it's bound to be helpful.....

EG
Sorry, but I'd have to differ on this one. I'd worry about killing anything beneficial in the soil. Also the overuse of pesticides can lead to strains of insects developing immunities to them, so when you really need them they don't work. It might be different if I knew I was combatting a known problem. (I also try not to till, especially in the autumn when there are lots of weed seeds around.)

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farmerlon
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I keep experimenting with how I "put the garden to rest", and I often use different techniques in different areas of the garden. Mostly, I try various cover crops, and organic layering (mulching) techniques. I keep searching for the right balance that will allow me to protect and enrich the soil the best, but also be able to work the soil as early as possible in the Spring. I keep getting closer to what I want to achieve.

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