All VINES Community Gardeners must clean out their garden beds by Sunday, October 31st. Even if you’re gardening in your back yard or containers, it’s a good idea to clean out and prep your garden for winter. But what does this really mean?
-Remove all weeds and annual plants. Remove your tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and any other woody stems- they are not going to produce anymore! Leaving dead crops and weeds in the ground over winter is an invitation for pests and diseases to make a home in your garden bed. Use a hoe or hand cultivator to pull out any weeds from the roots. As long as these don’t show signs of disease, you can add them to your compost pile.
-Mulch your garden bed with brown leaves. Do your neighbors a favor by taking bags of brown leaves off their hands! Laying 2-3 inch layer of leaf mulch to the top of your bed helps add carbon, protect soil nutrients from leeching, and will suppress weeds in the coming spring.
Remove all plastic, trellises, ties, and fencing. These very quickly become unsightly litter as they become damaged in winter weather. Please leave your community garden bed cleaner and better than you found it! Either you or the next gardener in that space will appreciate a clean empty garden bed to plant in come Spring.
Disconnect and Empty all hoses, then store in a warm, dry place. Leaving a hose in freezing temperatures with even small amounts of water residue in it can lead to it freezing and damaging the hose. Follow these steps or check out this video.
Inform your Community Garden Coordinator of your plans. If you are planting any crops that overwinter, such as garlic, kale, collard greens, carrots, etc, please label these crops and clean out all other crops and materials. Let your garden site coordinator know so they don’t think you left your garden untended. Let your garden coordinator know if you plan to return to the same garden bed next year, or if you want to make it available to another community gardener.
Enjoy the end of the growing season!