Gardening

5 tips to prepare your organic garden for winter

Winter is a season of the year characterized by short days with little light, long nights, low temperatures, rain, snow, hail, and cold winds. It is important to take into account some issues to prepare, in the best possible way, the organic garden to withstand the winter well.

If you have previously had vegetables planted, once you have made the last harvest, also take advantage of it to gradually remove the roots, branches and remains of these that may have been left. We are going to aerate the earth to a maximum depth of 50 cm and verify that there are no large clods of earth, stones, etc. that can hinder the development of roots. If there are plants that have already finished their life cycle, we can throw them into the compost pile, as well as branches and other debris.

If you grow on terraces, it is a good time to restructure them. I recommend that you manage one by one so that you do not get the feeling that there is chaos in the garden and that you work with greater agility.

Once we have removed the summer crops and annuals, we are going to see what tasks to do to prepare our garden for the winter.

It is not easy to manage the garden during the winter, especially if you are starting out in gardening, and that is why we want to give you some tips to facilitate this work.

5 tips to prepare your organic garden for winter.

1.- Plan what vegetables and aromatics you want to grow.

How do you do it? I recommend that you take into account 4 questions:

  • The planting schedule , the crop rotation and the association table crops .
  • What do you like to eat
  • Which vegetables grow best in your area due to the weather conditions
  • Availability that you are going to have to dedicate to your garden more or less time.

2.- Provides organic matter to the earth

If we have been growing vegetables during the spring and summer, it may be a good idea to add organic matter such as compost, green manure or worm castings to the soil to increase its fertility.

However, before doing so, I recommend that you do an analysis of the land to know exactly what condition it is in. We can perform this analysis visually ourselves (see more here ) or we can also collect a sample and send it to a laboratory.

We must also bear in mind that, being a time with frequent rains, we must check that the soil drainage is optimal so that we do not have problems of waterlogging and root suffocation.

If you are not going to grow anything on any of the terraces, you can plant nitrogen-fixing plants that will improve the quality of the soil for the following crops.

3.- Protect seedbeds and crops from frost, hail and strong winds

We can do this with protective fabrics, greenhouses, cultivation tunnels and we can even protect the crops from the cold winter wind using windbreaks . In the first cases, it is important to ventilate well periodically, especially on sunny days or with higher temperatures.

Persistent cold wind can be quite damaging. Especially for plants without strong stem, for some seedlings and some shrubs or also for small fruit trees. In these cases, we can place a mesh around it as well as a tutored that will give an extra support to the crops.

We must supervise that the greenhouses are in good condition and free of pests or fungi. Some pest insects can survive the winter in the form of eggs that will hatch in spring if we do not have a remedy.

4.- Put into practice the padding or mulch

This practice is very common in organic farming and in permaculture. It consists of covering the cultivation soil with straw, pinnace, gravel, pinecones or other materials to keep the soil more soft and reduce the impact of low temperatures on the roots of the plants. Read more about padding .

When you transplant the seedlings to their definitive place of growth, you can already place the mulch around them.

5.- Have amendments on hand to avoid or reduce damage to crops

At this point it is important to know the weather forecast to be able to anticipate the frosts. Frosts can cause damage to both the aerial part of the plants and the roots.

In addition to watering during the day instead of in the late afternoon, we can implement this simple amendment that is quite effective.

How can we minimize this frost damage? With Valerian. In addition to being a medicinal plant that is used in home remedies due to its benefits of valerian , it can also be of great help during the winter.

This plant is very effective for these cases. It is very easy to prepare the valerian macerate:

You need 500 grams of fresh plant (or 250 of dry plant) and 5 liters of water.

Cut the valerian into portions of about 4 cm and place them in a bucket, container or basin (not made of metal). Mash them a bit for two to three minutes. Add the water little by little. Cover the container almost completely and place it in a dark and airy place. We will leave it like that for a period of 3 to 5 days. We will move the mash a little each day. After this type we strain it and add 2 more liters of water. With a spray, apply the macerate to the entire aerial part and to the earth around the stem of the plants the afternoon before the frost.

Furthermore, valerian is very interesting because it stimulates the microbial activity of the earth.

It is definitely a good idea to grow valerian in the vegetable garden or garden.

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