Preparing the Winter Garden

Preparing the winter garden. Closing a garden properly after a growing season can make it easier for plants to flourish the following spring. Includes 20 steps to a healthier winter garden.

| September/October 1988

Why let your garden just "fall" asleep when you can make it "spring" awake? Preparing the winter garden, use these 20 steps to create a healthy winter garden that will bring healthy garden results in spring.

Preparing the Winter Garden

"Fall is not the end of the gardening year;
it is the start of next year's growing season."
— Thalassa Cruso

THE BETTER PART OF THE APRIL DAY was still ahead of us and the digging forks were already heavy in our hands, when my gardening friend spoke: "Nature's inefficient! She gives us scads of gardening chores in spring—right when our bodies are the flabbiest. Then by the time we get all toned up and in shape, it's fall and there're almost no garden chores left."

I didn't have a rebuttal for this apparent injustice to home growers. I just grunted in agreement, wiped my brow and bent back over my fork. But garden writer Thalassa Cruso has a partial solution: Why not knock off some of next spring's chores this fall? That's right, do them now-while your biceps are brimming with stamina and your garden duties aren't crowding together like root-bound May seedlings.

So here's a check list of 20 ideas for fall plot improvement:

1. Test. Autumn's the best time to send soil samples off for analysis. The labs aren't swamped with work, so you get results back faster than in spring. The soil's generally drier, which makes sampling easier and more accurate. And there's more time for any of the recommended amendments you add to break down and work their way into the soil.

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