You’ve been working hard and sweating all summer long to make sure your vegetable garden is healthy and prosperous, but soon the cold New Jersey winter will be on its way, leaving you scrambling to get your garden ready for the drastic changes. While the coming winter may signal the end of your crop harvest for the year, it doesn’t mean you have to start anew when the ground thaws next spring. By making a few simple preparations in the fall, you can put your vegetable garden on the fast track to a quick recovery and an abundant growing season next year.
Harvest your remaining summer vegetables
This is the time to make the most of everything you’ve got left that’s growing in your garden. Some late summer and early fall crops are likely still thriving, and you’ll definitely want to get them inside before the nights start to get too cold. If it’s too much to eat at one time, turn to tried-and-true preservation methods like canning, pickling, and freezing. Store hardy root vegetables like onions and potatoes in a root cellar or cool, dark place.
Ditch the dead plant material
This is the optimal time to do a bit of cleanup after the peak growing season. The first step is to remove and clean all of the inorganic material, such as support stakes. Then you can remove all of the spent plant material that has accumulated on the ground. If the dead plants were otherwise healthy they make great additions to your compost pile. Otherwise, you definitely want to throw them away so your soil isn’t contaminated all winter long.
Feed your soil with mulch and other organics
Throughout the long, hot summer, your soil has been working overtime to gobble up nutrients and keep your plants growing as fast as possible. That’s why when the growing slows down in the fall, your soil needs to be replenished more than ever. First, it’s important to check the pH level of your soil with a testing kit. If it’s too low you’ll want to add lime to the soil, and if it’s on the high side a light covering of ammonium sulfate should do the trick. Then, many experts recommend adding one to two inches of compost on top before winter begins.
Winterize irrigation system
Finding out that your irrigation system was damaged during the winter is enough to demoralize any gardener. For colder climates, disconnecting the entire system and moving it indoors is never a bad idea. It may also be necessary to completely blast out all remaining water inside the sprinkler system pipes.
If your irrigation system isn’t prepared for the quickly approaching winter weather, schedule an appointment with one of our irrigation experts. They will assess your sprinkler system and advise you of the best methods for protecting your sprinklers throughout the harsh winter months. Visit www.wetlawn.com or call 1-800-WETLAWN to schedule a quick and easy consultation.