Fall Tips for Sweet Spring Soil

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As colder weather arrives, it’s a great time to think about how to prepare your garden for next season. A little time spent in the fall can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your garden soil. Here are some things you can do.

  1. Mix and add compost to vegetable gardens. Clean up your vegetable bed by removing any debris and leftover plant material. Loosen the planting medium using a garden fork down to about 4 inches, and mix in about 3 inches of organic compost material.
  2. Clean up flower beds and add compost. Fabulous flowers can use compost as well. Fill a bucket with organic compost. As you clean up gardens, pulling out annuals and trimming back perennials, pack compost in wherever you can. Be generous around established plants and shrubs adding about 2 to 3 inches around the base of each plant.
  3. Add raw organic matter to your veggie bed. After you have mixed in plenty of compost, you may want to supercharge your veggie bed by adding some fresh organic matter that will decay over the winter months. You can add raw organic matter like shredded leaves and animal manure (not dog or cat).
  4. Add other organic amendments. It’s a good idea to add additional organic soil amendments like bone meal, kelp, rock phosphate, and green sand to your garden beds in the fall. They will break down slowly over winter and improve the nutrient quality for plants in the spring.
  5. Test and adjust pH. Fall is a great time to test and improve the pH of your soil. Winter allows plenty of time for the slow change of pH, which is best. Remember, the best pH is between 5.5 and 7.5. If you need to raise pH, add some lime, and if your soil is too alkaline, add some pine needles or peat moss.

     

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    • FC&A Staff Writer