Why can't you just procrastinate until spring? Leaving diseased leaves and debris in the garden gives diseases, fungus and pests a nice place overwinter. Come spring, you could have many problems to deal with. On the other hand, when we clean up diseased or infested material, the garden stays healthier and will need fewer treatments to deal with these problems later on.
Take these steps before you begin the clean up:
- Harvest root crops like carrots or potatoes that are still in the ground.
- Before removing any plant debris, make a sketch of this year's garden - showing what was planted where. Having a sketch of this year's garden will help you rotate placement of next season's crops - like tomatoes - that do best when not grown in the same place each year.
- Next, plant herbs that will not overwinter outdoors in containers to bring inside.
Tips for the clean-up
- Remove all old veggies, vines, leaves and other debris from the garden. If leaves from trees blow in, keep them cleaned up as well. All of this decaying plant material makes a nice winter home for insects and other pests you don't want in your garden next spring.
- Remove weeds, too.
- Most greens, leaves and small plants are fine to pitch in the compost pile. But leave out the weeds whose seeds will get back in the garden when you spread the compost. Also leave out tomato plants as they are often diseased and large-stemmed vines such as pumpkin as they take too long to decompose.
When the garden is clean, do one last chore that will pay off next spring: work compost into the soil. You can also add straw mulch or grass clippings as mulch over the soil.
Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, sponsors of the 9News Water Wise Garden and the 9News Kitchen Garden. For help finding a landscape expert, go to www.alcc.com and click on Find a Pro.
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