But now we must clean up the garden in earnest. Dead plants, cages, poles, it all needs to be dealt with. Here are a few things to consider when your garden looks like mine.
1. Some things can be left in the garden. Any plants that have seeds or berries can be left as bird food for the winter months. Sunflowers, purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans are great ones to ignore for a good cause.
2. Leave some hiding spots. Some spiders and beetles rely on dead ground cover in which to winter over. Give them a hand this winter and they'll be great additions to the kids' bug collection next Spring!
4. Remove the infrastructure. All tomato cages and bean poles should also be removed. If you're feeling really tidy, these may be wiped down with a bleach and water solution to kill any disease.
5. Cover the garden with organic matter. Use the grass clippings from that blessed last lawn mowing, add dry leaves, mix in kitchen compost, sweet talk your local farmer into giving you some manure and spread it on thick! Everything will naturally break down under the snow and be ready to till next spring.
|Old caned-seat chairs make great peony cages!|
7. Test your soil. If your veggies and flowers left you less than impressed this year, now is a perfect time to test your soil and make adjustments.
8. Plan for next year. Take notes and draw pictures to help with next year's layout. Leave markers if you've added new plants that may be mistaken for weeds. Each Spring I weed out numerous flowers in my over-zealous attempt to start the year out weed-free! Plant bulbs now and make sure those are noted as well.
The cool weather always inspires me to button up the outdoor projects and return indoors for an extra cup of coffee. Let the rototiller rest. Leave the rakes and hoes collect dust. And watch the mailbox in anticipation of the bright seed catalogs that'll be here by January!