After a productive season of growing your favorite vegetables and flowers, Fall is the perfect time to do yourself a favor for Spring, and put your garden to bed. Your garden soil is likely taxed and depleted after an active growing season. Like us, it requires restoration and nutrients to rest and rebuild for next Spring. Don't leave your beds as they are. Give yourself (and your garden) the benefit of getting a head start on next year now. You will not regret it.
Step 1: Pull out all weeds and dead plants from your bed. If your beds have been completely taken over by weeds, you can opt to cover the entire bed with a tarp or cardboard to smother them instead.
Step 2: Amend your soil by sprinkling some bone, fish meal or other organic fertilizers to the dirt. Incorporate by raking into the soil.
Step 3: Sprinkle some garden lime on your beds. Fall is the best time to cultivate this into your soil. This helps the soils PH level to alkalize which most plants prefer as it unlocks nutrients that they otherwise would not be able to absorb. Do this especially if you are planning to add in a leaf mulch or aged manure which can get acidic as it decomposes. Do not add this if you are growing raspberries, blueberries or strawberries as they prefer acidic soil.
Step 4: Add compost, mulch or both to your beds. This is a great way to fill your beds to the top if they were low in soil. Make sure if you are adding manure that it is properly aged so avoid planting active seeds.
Step 5: Protect your beds with a final layer of straw. Be sure to use straw and not hay to avoid seeding the beds with unwanted hay or weeds that may still be on the hay.