If you want a thriving garden for the next growing season, there are things you should be doing now.
1. Remove your garden’s plants, weeds, and debris.
If they are disease-free, you can compost them, but if they are diseased, they must be discarded with the trash. Blight has been affecting the northeast for years now. During the growing season, these infected leaves should be removed and put out with the trash (not with yard waste).
Now that the growing season is over ensure all the plant parts are removed, as you do not want the blight to reproduce during winter. Also, practice crop rotation in the spring by simply planting crops in different spots than you did in the last few growing seasons.
2. Till your garden using a garden fork.
Turning the soil is important to expose any insects who plan to overwinter. Add a layer of compost and till into your soil. Be sure to add a sufficient amount of compost by knowing the square footage of your garden and being certain that the compost is appropriate for fruit and vegetable gardens!
3. Test the pH of your soil!
You should test the pH in the fall and again in the spring. The pH should be in the range of 6.4-7.2 (with 6.8 being ideal). If the soil is not in the appropriate range, you can treat it using the proper amounts of lime.
4. Prevent Runoff
If your garden is on a slope, consider covering your soil with salt hay to avoid runoff. Another option is to sow cover crops, such as winter rye, to improve your soil.
5. Plan Your Garden
Dream and plan your garden for the next growing season! Think about all the wonderful crops you may grow, and order some seeds this winter!
If you are not yet aware, the Cornell Cooperative Extension has a horticultural hotline, the most valuable resource ever! Educators can answer any question you have about home gardening and much more!