Putting Beds To Rest

It is said that Fall is the best time for amending the soil and getting the garden ready for an early planting next spring.  So we have been busy here in our garden “putting the beds to rest”.  My kids have had an important role in this affair, and you can see Elena here with the beds starting to fill with leaves as the fall crops diminish.

Here is what we did to put our beds to rest:

·         pulled all the plants, harvesting any last remains (see previous post for a discussion of what we did with our green tomatoes)

·         aerated the soil—if you kids are old enough to be trusted with a large piece of equipment with pointy parts, having them use the broad fork to turn the soil is a GREAT task for kids. Our children (ages 7 and 9) literally fight over who gets to use the broad fork, and we have to have them take turns.  We supervise of course!

·         added soil amendments.  For our blueberries and asparagus, we added compost and lime.    For our vegetable beds, we added compost, cotton burr and sustainable peat moss (to give the soil a little more lightness, as it was getting a bit compact).

·         topped with a few inches of no-seed straw. This is optional, but it looks nice and protects perennial crops like (some) herbs and asparagus.

We also let our chickens loose to eat any bad bugs that might have found a home this past summer.  They are truly our partners in the garden!  It is great to deplete any bad bugs now as they are likely to come back otherwise next spring/summer.

What do you do to put your gardens to bed?  Please post a comment!

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