How To Prepare A Raised Bed For Winter
In the past, we've talked about how to prepare a raised bed for planting. The process, while rather simple, is critical for gardening success. Oftentimes, people get so caught up in the growing season that they forget about winter. Most gardeners just leave the raised bed as it is at the end of the season. Well, there's more to it than that, and in today's post, we're going to talk about how to prepare raised beds for winter. These tips and tricks will help your garden thrive during next year's season. Soil health and disease reduction are a couple of benefits we're talking about.
Remove Old Plants And Weeds
It may be tempting to wait until spring to remove old plants, but if you do it now, you'll help your garden's soil thrive for the coming season. Leaving old plants in the soil invites pests, disease, bacteria, mold, and more. So, after that first frost, when everything dies, remove all plant material. If you still have some root veggies or kale, leave those planted. These plants often sweeten after the first few frosts of winter. Any dead plant material can be added to your compost pile.
Depending on what you planted during the season, you may want to check for any seeds. If you had some lettuce that dropped seed, you'll want to collect them for next season. By doing this every season, you'll never have to buy and new seed—unless you want something new to plant.
Top Dress With Compost
There's no doubt that compost is great for your garden. It adds necessary nutrients to the soil, improves structure, and retains moisture. Usually, though, you add compost at the beginning of the season and work it into the top six inches of soil.
You've probably heard of field rotation in farming. Well, similar to that, you'll want to top dress your raised bed with compost and organic matter at the end of the season. Over the course of winter, with the freezing and thawing, this new material will slowly work itself into the soil. After a growing season, the soil becomes spent and may be lacking in nutrients and minerals. So, this introduction of new material helps revitalize the soil for the next season.
Consider Extending The Season
When you're a gardener, there's nothing you love more than growing and harvesting. Sometimes, winter may be a sad time for you. Well, there are ways to extend the growing season. You may use curved tubes and plastic to cover the bed and increase the temperature. This will extend your season and allow you to continue harvesting at least for a couple more months, depending on how cold it gets where you live.
If that's not your speed, you may consider building a small greenhouse. Greenhouses are great for extending the growing season and help with growing non-native plants. Maybe you love tropical plants but live in zone 4. With a greenhouse, the growing possibilities are endless.
Not Sure What You Want To Do?
At Gardens of Eatin', we love gardening. We are the premier authority on sustainable growing, homesteading, and landscaping in the Asheville area. Now you know how to prepare a raised bed for winter, but maybe you want something more. Give us a call, and we'll help you plan your dream garden.