Garden Housekeeping - Page 2
It’s particularly important to make a map of your vegetable garden each year. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, a simple sketch would be sufficient. The purpose of your vegetable garden map is to remind you where each crop was planted the previous year so that you can rotate the current year’s crops. Since many plant diseases and even some insects are harbored in the soil, moving your crops from one area of the garden to another will help reduce disease and insect damage.
Some vegetable crops should never be planted in the same area two years in a row. Tomatoes, corn and potatoes are good examples of crops that should be rotated. Several common tomato diseases will overwinter in the soil and will infect tomatoes again if they’re planted in the same spot as the previous year. Colorado Potato Beetle larvae overwinter in the soil and will have more difficulty finding a potato meal if the potatoes are on the other end of the garden when the larvae emerge in the spring. Corn is a heavy feeder and depletes soil of nitrogen. Where the corn was planted the previous year, beans or peas should be planted the following season, as these legumes will fix nitrogen in the soil, replacing what the corn depleted.
Finally, garden housekeeping involves cleaning up the garden at the end of the growing season. Any diseased plants should be removed from the garden and discarded. Do not add diseased plant material to your compost pile unless you are confident that your compost pile heats up enough to kill any pathogens. Woody material such as cornstalks and sunflower stems should be removed from the garden and composted. You may want to break these down into smaller pieces as they tend to decompose very slowly.
Vegetable plants that are not diseased or infested with insects can either be removed and composted or tilled into the soil in the fall, where they will break down over winter and add organic matter to the soil.
Blooming annuals can be pulled from the flowerbed after the first killing frost. Perennials should be allowed to go dormant before the dead foliage is trimmed back close to the ground.
Garden housekeeping is an important step towards a healthy and bountiful garden. It does require a little effort, but garden housekeeping is still more fun than vacuuming and dusting in the house.
Kathy Anderson has been an avid gardener for many years and has grown tomatoes by the acre, along with many other vegetables, flowers and landscape plants. Kathy recommends http://www.freeplants.com as a great place to learn more about gardening. Article provided by .