Put Your Garden to Bed
Sleep is good for us. It helps repair our minds and bodies, bolsters our immune system so we can ward off illnesses and provides us with the strength to take on the challenges of our daily cycle of waking, eating, working and sleeping.
Our gardens work along a similar annual cycle — they awaken in the spring, use up nutrients to produce the bounty we enjoy on our tables during the summer while battling pests and diseases. Then, they wind down in the fall and take a well-deserved break and “sleep” over the winter. However, not all sleep is created equal.
Simply doing nothing with your garden as the season comes to a close means you’ll miss an opportunity to set yourself up for success during the following year. Leaving bare soil over the winter will subject it to the elements. Here in the Pacific Northwest, that means rain, which can cause erosion, compaction and the leaching of nutrients from your soil.
There are a number of ways to give your patch of earth a more beneficial resting period — using mulch or planting a cover crop are two methods you can use to protect and boost soil health.