Preparing Garden for Winter

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by NoahJohn, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. NoahJohn

    NoahJohn Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2006
    This is my third summer of gardening. I live in the northern part of Ohio, on Lake Erie, so our winters tend to be cold and snowy. The first year nothing grew in the garden. Every single plant stayed the exact same size as when I bought it from the nursery. The second year we put down horse manure and tilled it in real good. This made all the difference - everything grew! The soil is of very poor quality, no top soil and very hard, much clay and many rocks. I'm wondering if there is anything I need/can do to prepare the soil this winter. Does it make a difference, spreading manure in the fall versus the spring? If I till everything this fall will I need to do it again in the spring? Any suggestions? Thanks.
  2. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    My grandmother lived in northern Ohio and I planted her garden when she was in her 80's and 90's. If your soil is like hers was, we're talking clay.
    Since you obviously have access to manure, I would start making compost piles - lots of them. Get all the green clippings you can, collect all the fall leaves you can, round up all the manure you can. The goal is to work all the compost you can into that soil. I'd also consider lasagna layering the makings of compost right over your garden - anything that becomes bare by mid-Sept and onward.
    Also, I'd think about doing raised beds in the garden so the compost can be put only on planting areas and not paths. You will always be working compost into your soil however your garden will reward you handsomely. You'll see major results in years 3 and 4 - don't quit!

  3. Chris in PA

    Chris in PA Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    A very important thing to do to your garden is to make sure your soil is not left exposed in the winter. You must either plant a green manure or cover it with shredded leaves, grass clipping or straw (any or all) on top of a layer of newpapers (3-4 layers thick.) This will keep your good soil from being exposed to the extremes of the weather and actually keep it from blowing away.

    During the winter the covering you put down will compost and it can be turned under in the spring. Or, if it doesn't, just rake it up and add it to your compost bin.