As we step into fall, we need to start thinking about winterizing our gardens and in particular need to make the effort to tidy our vegetable garden beds makes it easy to begin growing the following spring. Not only is this just good housekeeping for improved aesthetics in your backyard but it also cuts down on the spread of pests and plant diseases.
Simply follow these simple steps and you’ll be ahead of the game for next season!

Gather Your Tools:
When you’re ready to winterize your veggie patch the most important tools to have on hand include, hand pruners to clip off thick-stemmed produce, like peppers, a shovel to dig up root vegetables and dig leaves into the soil, a wheelbarrow to remove debris out of the garden as well as a rake for cleanup and to spread leaves and compost.

Harvest Your Vegetables and Tidy Beds:
Your next step will be to harvest all of your vegetables. Timing depends on the weather so keep an eye on the forecast. When there’s a light frost due, you can save some of your plants by covering them at night. This may buy you a couple of weeks of extra gardening time. Once a hard freeze kills your crop, remove the dead plant debris and put it in the trash.

Add Nutrition to your Soil:
Fall leaves are truly a gardener’s gold. Try and gather as many leaves as possible from your yard as fall leaves can be used for mulching your beds. Mixing leaves into the soil speeds decomposition and aerates the soil. One of the easiest ways to gather and shred leaves is to use your lawn mower. Also consider spreading compost because it makes a great erosion-preventing mulch during the winter.

Ready for Spring:
Fall is a great time to expand the vegetable garden. Consider building a few raised beds or square foot gardens right on top of the grass. Many garden centers have bagged organic garden soil and compost on sale in fall. Fill your new beds with fresh soil and cover to prevent growth of weeds and you will be ready to plant when next spring arrives!

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