Clearing out all vegetable garden debris is the first step toward next summer’s healthy plants.
You think I’d be glad to pull up the dead summer squash foliage after the ups and downs of growing it this year.
Early on I complained about the fruit not setting and having to pollinate the squash by hand.
Then I complained because I had so much yellow squash I had to find new ways to use it in the kitchen.
Now that it’s all gone, I’m a little wistful.
I loved looking out my office window and seeing a green and growing garden, that was alive with butterflies, bees and birds. Around here the time to enjoy it is so short compared to the amount of time the garden is empty of plants and pollinators.
But there’s still plenty to do in the garden now and it starts with raking up every bit of garden debris to put the vegetable garden to bed.
It’s important to clean up all the dead foliage every fall, because garden pests and plant diseases can overwinter in garden debris and cause problems in the garden next year.
If you had early blight or powdery mildew this season, be sure to be thorough with fall garden clean-up. These steps also help to prevent viruses, thrips, and problem beetles:
- Pull up plants and weeds, roots and all.
- Shred and compost the healthy plant material; bag weeds and any diseased leaves and dispose of them.
- Rake up all remaining plant debris.
- Till soil deeply.
- Rake fallen tree leaves from lawn areas and shred with mulching lawn mower; add a thick layer of these healthy leaves to garden bed.
- Turn leaves deeply into bed to help improve soil fertility for next gardening season.
- Leave the bed with a rough surface to expose any lingering pests to the elements.
Extra time spent cleaning up the garden now, will make for a healthier garden next year.