As the temperatures begin dropping, and before you snuggle up with a cup of warm tea and a good book, make sure your garden is ready for the winter and next spring by adding important organic matter back into the soil. Yep, I’m talking about adding organic compost to your garden beds and containers to replenish the soil. In general, we recommend adding compost to your soil both fall and spring. The best time to amend the soil with compost in the fall is right after cutting plants back or removing exhausted annuals and crops. Where plants are removed, mix 3-4″ of compost into the top several inches of soil to add beneficial microbes and other organisms. However, be sure to add compost to all your garden beds including around perennials, shrubs, and trees by similarly mixing 3-4″ of compost into the soil around existing plants being careful to not disturb established roots. It is beneficial to spread a layer of organic compost around the stems and roots too. Fall, winter and spring moisture will “leach” nutrients from the compost into the soil.
Also, if you have any soil areas with poor drainage, mix your compost with 25-30% pumice. Adding pumice to your organic compost, will not only improve drainage, it will also help aerate the soil and enhance moisture retention in future growing seasons. Pumice is a great multi-purpose and natural soil amendment that doesn’t wash away or blow away over time.
If you really want overachieving soil next season, adding worm castings is a great idea too. Adding nutrient-rich soil amendments helps replenish your soil for the best growing results next year.
Adding as much compost as you have on hand or can afford offers great consolation as you head indoors more through the winter. You’ll know your garden is well prepared for a colorful, vibrant spring that is sure to follow.
~ Linda Brown