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Put Your Garden Soil to Bed for the Winter

garden soil

Tend to your soil this winter to prepare it for next spring.

Once soil temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the biological activity within the soil will significantly slow down. The lifeforms within the soil will hibernate through the winter. During winter, the soil is not expected to improve or change, yet it can if it’s given a little help. Read on for techniques that can help you build up your garden’s soil in winter. 

Wait to Cultivate Your Garden Soil Until Next Spring

Toward the end of the summer season, the soil may feel extra loose and crumbly. That is because it is full of the summer “crop” of fungal hyphae and mycelium. These microscopic threads will slowly rot through winter, along with any roots left behind by vegetables and weeds. If you were to try to cultivate your garden soil in winter, you would upset the natural processes that nourish the soil. It is much better to mulch over vacant beds without cultivating them first.

Use Winter Mulch

You can easily rake fallen leaves over your garden soil to help protect it from the ravages of winter. Many other mulch materials also work in protecting your soil in winter. Wood chips are an increasingly popular mulch material for gardens.

Tolerate Those Winter Weeds

Common winter weeds help protect the soil from erosion. Other winter weeds such as dandelions, bittercress, and others will drill deep into the soil with their taproots, which helps to improve soil drainage. To prevent winter weeds from reseeding, hoe them down in early spring, rake up the greens and compost them.

Wake Up Your Garden When the Soil Temperature Rises in the Spring

Garden beds sitting vacant until spring can be covered in compost. When the soil temperature rises above 45 degrees, incorporate the compost and any weeds into the soil profile. The bed will benefit from a deep layer of compost at the surface. Incorporating the organic matter into the soil will enhance the microbial activity and nutrient supply for the summer.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 20th, 2019 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.