Thursday, October 14, 2010

Found a nice article on fall clean-up

Putting Your Garden to Bed By: Nathan Harman of Dome-Grown Farm

Putting your garden to bed for the winter can be compared to putting a child to bed: finish dinner, put away toys, go potty, brush teeth, put on pajamas, and read a story.

Finish dinner - This means tending your food plants. Gather the last tender crops before frosts come, save seeds from the best specimens, protect your winter crops with blankets and cold frames, and plant your bulbs and perennials.

Put away toys - Take care of your garden toys (tools). Locate, clean, oil, sharpen, touch-up, and generally care for all the tools, pots, hoses, buckets, and other implements you've been using all summer. Store carefully indoors out of the elements.

Go potty - Put garden waste on the compost pile. Plant tops and debris, unseeded weeds, leaves, old mulch, etc. should be used to build up a goodly compost pile, or amend and turn a current one. Work your compost well now to have finished compost ready for you in the spring.

Brush teeth - Freshen up the garden. Burn any plant material that carries a known virus or pathogen that is only destroyed by fire. Tidy your pathways, mow, mulch. Make things look nice to your eye, cause it's going to look that way all winter.

Put on pajamas - Don't let that poor garden bed shiver naked all through the winter! Keep the ground covered with mulch (shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw, etc.) and/or cover crops (wheat, rye, oats, clover, etc.).

Bedtime story - Tell your garden story from this season and write down whatever you can still remember. What worked well, what didn't? Any new plants or techniques to comment on? Any good ideas for next year? The act of writing, and telling yourself the story of the garden, seems to give finality to the season while also inspiring the future.
Much of the winter we will spend away from the garden, so we should be sure to leave it in the best possible shape as we step out this fall and enjoy a few months of winter calm. Like a child, once the garden's awake, there's no stopping. Happy Gardening!
To view the complete article, please click here to visit our blog.

Nathan Harman is an active member of the Bloomington Permaculture Guild and participant in Transition Bloomington. He and his wife (with their two young daughters) operate Dome-Grown, a small permaculture farm in Bloomington.

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1 comment:

  1. When the seasons start changing, your landscape can undergo a bit of wear-and-tear. With the change in temperatures come fallen debris, frost and new patterns of precipitation.
    Fall Clean up Beverly MA