Preparing Your Garden for Winter
As fall comes into full swing, it’s time to wind down the garden. Preparing the garden for winter may seem like a sad job; after all, you’ve put so much work into your plants. But by completing a few simple tasks now, you will help ensure that your garden is in great shape by the time spring gets here.
For many, October is a great month to start preparing the garden for the cold months ahead. If you haven’t already started, here are some tips for winter garden preparation:
- Clear away any dead annuals. You can put this dead vegetation in your compost pile.
- Prune perennials back and cut off any dead leaves.
- Put away garden tools. Remove tomato cages, trellises, and growing containers from the garden and store them properly in a shed or garage. Remember to pick up all tools so they don’t sit out all winter and become damaged. Also, don’t forget the hose! Leaving it out to freeze can ruin it, so detach it from the spigot and be sure it is empty.
- Till the soil and add compost. By doing this now, your garden will be in great shape for spring planting. You may want to have the soil tested to see if you need to add anything else to it.
- Pull any weeds you find in the garden. Even if they are dead, eliminating them (and their seeds!) from the area will help prevent a weed problem by the time spring comes.
- If you have cool-weather crops such as leeks or kale in the garden, you might want to put mulch around them to keep them in good shape until they’re ready to harvest.
Gardening Question of the Month
Q: What can I do with all these green tomatoes?!
A: If the frost has left you with a ton of green tomatoes, you have a few options. Sometimes, these tomatoes might still ripen indoors. There are a couple ways to do this. One is to take the tomato plant out of the ground (with the fruit still on) and hang it somewhere indoors, like a basement or insulated garage, until the tomatoes ripen. You could also remove the tomatoes from the plant, place them in a box with some newspaper, and store them in the basement or garage until they are ready. If all else fails, try some fried green tomatoes or puree those green tomatoes and add them to soups or other recipes.
This time of year, we are excited to try all kinds of great pumpkin recipes! Here’s a pumpkin soup that is great for fall. Serve with bread for the perfect October meal.
Delicious Fall Pumpkin Soup
3 C. pumpkin, pureed (either from a can or from fresh cooked pumpkin)
4 C. broth (chicken or vegetable will work well)
1/2 C. light coconut milk (or other milk if you prefer)
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped up
2-3 carrots, chopped small
1 tsp. curry seasoning
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T. butter
Mix the pureed pumpkin and spices together in a pot. Add broth and vegetables, then stir and cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and butter, then cook for 10 minutes more. You can blend the soup in a food processor or blender before serving if you want a smoother soup.
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