by Avis Licht
Whether you plant edible crops for the winter or not, there are a few things you can do to keep your garden healthy and protected for the winter.
1. Clean out the old beds and if you have room, be sure to compost your old foliage. There are a lot of nutrients in those plants that came out of your ground and you can put those nutrients back into the soil. Composting is an important part of garden health.
2. Plant cover crops to protect the soil from erosion and add nutrients as well as humus to the soil. Fava beans and bell beans can be sown even in cold, wet weather.
3. Sheet mulch to cover large areas to improve the soil, get rid of weeds and prepare for future planting without having to dig the soil. Sound too good to be true? Well it really works. Here’s an article about sheet mulching in my own back yard.
4. Mulch the soil around plants. This is one of the most important things you can do in the winter to protect the soil from erosion, hold moisture, protect roots from extreme weather and add nutrient. There are many types of mulch. Leaves, straw, wood chips, compost, and manure are some of the most common and easiest to use. As with everything else in the garden, there’s always lots to learn. Different mulches work better in different conditions. Check out my article on best mulching practices.