Putting Your Veggie Garden to Bed
It seems as though 2020 has been the year of the vegetable garden. We’ve spoken with so many new and existing gardeners who have gone all out this year, building and planting raised beds, planting in the ground, or pots, and growing virtually any and every vegetable with amazing results.
So you’ve had a bountiful season, and harvested your crops, and that’s it, right? Well, not quite. If you want to have a successful 2021 season, you can take a few extra steps now to treat your soil and ensure your plants will do just as well (or better) come spring.
Step 1: Clean Up
This step is so important! Before doing anything else, take a few moments to pull out weeds, brush and other dead plant material. Some of this debris contains disease and insects which can cause problems in the spring, so you’ll want to remove them from the bed rather than just rake them in.
Step 2: Add Lime
Most veggies tend to like the soil a little “sweet” so you can sprinkle some garden lime on top of the soil now, so it has time to absorb into the ground and change the PH of the soil by the time spring arrives. Tip: If you’re planing on planting potatoes you can skip this step as they tend to like more acidic soil.
Step 3: Add Nutrients
If you think about how nutritious your veggies are, just remember that those nutrients come from the ground. You can help replace depleted nutrients by putting down Organic Garden-tone at the same time you apply the lime. This step will also help add in some microbial activity which further benefits the soil.
Step 4: Insect Control
To help keep unwanted insects at bay, you can apply an organic insect control like diatomaceous earth to keep your springtime veggies happy.
Step 5: Amend the Soil
To give your soil some additional love, we recommend top dressing your garden bed with a compost like Soilution which contains lots of beneficial goodies including earthworm castings, mycorrhiza, biochar, lobster, kelp, and nutrients (everything but the kitchen sink).
Step 6: Plant a Cover Crop
There are a few reasons why you should consider planting a cover crop like Winter Rye. First, it quickly fills in the garden bed, which prevents weeds, but also acts as an erosion control. Second, since Winter Rye is deep rooted, it pulls nitrogen up to the top layers of soil through the roots which your veggies love. The deep root system also keeps the soil from becoming compact, which will make springtime planting easier. And finally, you can let it grow until about three weeks before you plant and then, when you cut it back, you can till till it directly into the garden bed to create a green manure.
And that’s it! Following these simple steps now will ensure your garden will do even better next year!