The first step to winterizing gardens can be challenging.
There’s so much to do it can be overwhelming. We are going to break this down into a couple of posts. The first order of business is to get rid of old plants. There are several reasons you do this. If a plant is dead it’s obviously not producing anymore. Other plants may have taken over the garden inhibiting growth for other plants. And lastly, a disease can wreck your garden.
You’ll see in the following picture our garden is a mess! Our corn stood tall, waving in the wind showing its brown diseased stalks off. It was awful. Our first action to winterizing the garden was to pull out all of the dead corn. Piece by piece, stalk by stalk we pulled them out of the ground.
Be sure when you’re winterizing gardens you get all the roots from dead or diseased plants.
Our plants weren’t too deep so we simply pushed the stalk to the left, then to the right and pulled straight up. Out they came roots and all. There were a few accidental tomato plants mingled in with the corn we pulled out as well. They were still producing, but not gaining much ground as we are close to the end of our growing season.
We piled all of this in a wheelbarrow and headed to the burn pile.
Now, we burn some of our plants for one main reason. Disease. If you put a diseased plant in your compost bin it is likely the disease can live. Then when you place compost in your garden next year the disease takes over and you don’t want this. So any plant that has a form of disease you need to burn.
If your plants are disease free then toss them into the compost bin. That’s what we did with our pumpkin plants and cucumber plants. We will also do this with our remaining tomato plants, once the big ones stop producing.
For winterizing your garden to go smoothly be sure you work each section of your garden in this way. Corn, beans, okra, etc. Each bed needs to be clean from old plants and roots. It generally takes us a full week to get this first step of winterizing the garden finished. It’s possible for you to achieve this in a day if you own a small garden.
This completes the first step of winterizing your garden. Next up, we will talk about soil and tilling!
~Until next time,
Question: What’s your best advice on pulling old plants from the garden?