Putting the garden to bed is often something I sort of dread but once I get going, I get great satisfaction out of having it neat, tidy and ready for spring planting! After the first frost, there’s much work to be done. I thought I’d go through a few of the steps that we take in order to wrap up the planting season.

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In addition to planting any spring bulbs (see previous post), I also plant out my garlic in the fall. I usually aim to get it done by Halloween, but this year it was at least a week into November before I got them in the ground. This is one of my favorite crops to plant as we use garlic in almost every meal!

After I’ve pulled all the dead plants, I put a fresh layer of compost on every bed, around the fruit trees and rose bushes. While we compost most things, I do not compost rose clippings or the peonies that I cut to the ground. Unfortunately, some of my peonies have powdery mildew and the roses could have diseases that I wouldn’t want to spread throughout the garden.

We also have a larger compost bin behind the garden shed, where we put bags and bags and bags of leaves that Bryce gathers from our backyard! We don’t do anything of substance to this pile, it just breaks down over time, slowly but surely.

This year, for the first time, I’m experimenting with growing a cover crop in my garden beds. This will be left in the bed all winter and turned into the soil come spring. The hope is that this will help decrease soil loss and improve the soil! It came in rather spotty but it’s better than nothing!

Throughout the winter I will cover each bed in straw from the chicken’s and duck’s coops (during growing season, it all goes in the compost). Again, it will act to stop soil loss (we have some crazy wind) and the ducks and chickens manure is an incredible additive to the soil. The organic matter all help to create a healthy soil!

Before the first frost hits, I try to take some cuttings of my scented geraniums. It’s easy to do and saves me from having to buy more the next year. We do not have a greenhouse, so a windowsill has to do.

It’s also my goal to get my garden shed tidied up and my tools cleaned, repaired or replaced (great Christmas gifts!). I find it so much easier to go into spring with a clean slate!

I’m sure there are things I’ve missed, so please chime in and share what is important to you to get done in your garden.