How to Prepare An Raised Garden Bed for Winter
For people who like to grow their own vegetables, having a raised garden bed is a good idea. They are easy to maintain, large enough to grow a lot of vegetables, and they look beautiful too. It's one thing to put the garden on a bed, but how do you prepare an garden bed for winter?
8 basic steps
1. Clean up
You need to remove all spent plant and vegetable matter that has completed the growing season – leaving them in the soil looks messy, and it introduces potential diseases and fungi into your soil.
You can remove the plants and destroy them, or you can add them to the compost heap to provide nutrients for next year's harvest, as long as they don't get sick.
Also, take the time to have a really nice weed on the plot, clean it well, and make sure that no invasive plants can take root during the quiet months.
2. Mulch, mulch, mulch
Mulching the soil well during the winter not only adds important nutrients, but also helps protect the land from the colder months.
Mulching helps regulate soil temperature and regulate moisture retention, in addition, it can really help the roots of those plants that spend the whole winter underground and give them the best start in spring.
3. Trim and prune
Many plants will benefit from good, clean pruning at the start of the cold season to help them start the next season as healthily as possible.
Some plants prefer autumn pruning more than others; Herbs are obvious candidates, and rhubarb and asparagus will love a haircut.
Some soft fruits, such as raspberries and blueberries, will continue to grow into winter, so leave these guys for spring.
4. Divide the bulbs
If you have flowers growing, autumn is when they prepare for the next season's growth. Lift the bulbs and separate them, ready to plant elsewhere. Now it is better to plant bulbs prepared for spring as well.
You may think that winter is not the time to fertilize plants, but it's actually a great opportunity to add some nutrients to the soil so that it can continue to release its important benefits.
Another great reason to add compost now is that everything you compost in the summer will now rot well and be ready to fit into the soil, and it will leave room for winter produce.
You can add all used vegetables along with fallen leaves and other green (or brown) substances to your compost.
6. Prepare the soil
Digging, weeding, and turning may seem like spring work, but starting work now will mean you have less to do in the spring.
Now adding compost, manure or fertilizer will also help the soil tremendously; The time between now and next season planting will allow nutrients to spread through the soil.
If this is your first year using a raised garden bed, you may find that soil levels begin to drop slightly in real time, so it's a good idea to add a little more at this stage.
7. Cover up
Once you've cleared all the intruders, fertilized your soil and flipped it gently, you can really "put it in bed" – covering the entire bed with weeds covered with fabric, which will allow moisture to seep in, but will stop sunlight from reaching the soil and help any weeds grow.
It's a great time to put your feet up for a few weeks, enjoy some time away from the garden, and spend time in a warm place!
8. Roof or not?
If you want to continue growing vegetables in winter, you can put a roof on a raised bed to protect them from the worst weather and keep them a little warmer.
Note, however, that this prevents important sunlight from entering your plants, so make sure to use a see-through hood.
The best winter vegetables
Even in winter, raised garden beds are suitable for growing vegetables because the soil is slightly warmer than the soil exposed in the garden or distribution. You can even grow salads in winter!
You can sow salad seeds at the end of the growing season, around September, and harvest from November to January. No matter how warm the soil is, these small thin-leaved plants do not cope well with severe frosts.
Radishes are sown in September and can be enjoyed in November or December. Add a little wool or mulch to the soil surface to keep the roots warm.
You sow leeks early in the season, around May, and you can harvest them starting in November.
4. Bean sprouts
You will grow another vegetable early in the season (around April/May) and your sprouts should be ready to eat between November and March. These guys actually get a little sweeter after a frost or two, so don't worry too much about them in the cold.
Although it is a thin-leaved plant, spinach is actually very hardy. You can plant it in November and start picking between January and March.
This nutrient-dense vegetable is a great addition to your winter garden. Small seedlings are planted in the summer, and then you can almost ignore them until November or December when they start production.
Winter is often referred to as the "hunger gap" because gardens don't produce as much food as they do in summer, and most things die.
However, there is still work to be done and it is still possible to get some vegetables from the winter bed.
Figure out how to prepare raised garden beds for winter so that they are at their best when next year's growing season arrives and you can enjoy growing vegetables for a long time.