How Winterizing Your Vegetable Garden Ensures A Successful Spring
With the frigid temperatures and the continuous chance for snow, not many New Jersey homeowners garden through winter. However, even though it’s not a prime time for gardening, there are still steps you can take now to prepare for spring. Winterizing your vegetable garden reduces the amount of work waiting for you in the spring and encourages better plant growth.
Tips to Winterizing Your Vegetable Garden
Here are the best steps you can take now to properly prepare your vegetable garden for winter and help with spring planting.
Clean out rotting plants.
Old plants are not only unsightly but also a catalyst for diseases, insect hibernation, and mold growth in the garden. Removing plants now prevents these issues from taking over the garden come spring. Remove debris with a rake and turn the soil. Debris and plants are a great addition to your compost pile if they are disease and insect-free.
Address your weeds that sprouted over the past couple of months, removing them from the root to discourage regrowth. These weeds must be removed entirely from the garden and lawn area. Avoid adding them to compost piles, where they will likely end up back in the garden next year. Instead, have them thrown away or burned instead.
Rebuild the soil.
Many gardeners wait until spring to test their soil, but now is an even better time to do so. Test the soil’s pH levels to identify any nutrient deficiencies. Over the winter months, add nutrients to the soil, turning it weekly, so they have time to break down into the ground before spring.
Plant cover crops.
Planting cover crops is an excellent way to prevent erosion and add nutrients to the soil organically. Rye, clover, and field peas are a few favorite cover crops gardeners rely on.
Mulch is another way to add nutrients to the soil as well as protect it from the harsh winter weather in New Jersey. Adding mulch before winter helps regulate soil temperatures as the temperatures start to drop. Mulch also prevents soil erosion, weed growth, and moisture loss.
Prune perennial plants.
Pruning encourages better growth and a more bountiful harvest the following year. Asparagus, rhubarb, raspberries, and blackberries benefit from pruning before the winter.
Even if gardening isn’t on your mind, your compost still needs attention in the winter. Move any finished compost to garden beds and then work on creating a new compost heap. Add fall leaves, straw, and kitchen scraps to generate fresh compost to use in the spring.
Assess this year’s growth.
It is also vital to reflect on garden growth from this year. What grew well and what didn’t thrive as you had hoped. Take the time to research these and make plans for the following season.
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