With the last squash harvested, it is time to take a look at your garden plot, container, window-box and remove all the spent vegetation and weeds that survived our summer heat.
Every task you do now will pay off twofold next spring. Many of our weed seeds, diseases and insect pests can grow over winter in the old garden litter. It is important to get your garden cleaned up in the fall.
Gardeners who attended the Garden Gathering last month at Superior Housing Authority’s Peter Rich Center shared their success stories — carrots, corn, melons and cherry tomatoes. They also shared their challenges — mildew and cutworms. The heat of the summer resulted in a good year for peppers and tomatoes.
What do gardeners plan for next year? We want to know more about organic pest control, including weeds. We need to prune and stake our tomatoes so we get nicer fruit and less disease. We want to fine tune soil nutrients to get the most from our soil. We want to plant crops that will produce well in a small space, give us lots of vitamins, and are usually more expensive in the grocery store.
Think broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts.
If you have not taken your soil test for next spring, there is still time. Two cups of soil sent to the UW-Soil testing lab in Marshfield, Wis. will be analyzed to provide you a wealth of information on your garden’s fertility. This fall, an addition of compost will go a long way to improving your soil’s health and structure.
Contact Jane Anklam, UW-Extension horticulture educator, for more information for your specific garden plot at 715-395-1515.
You can get information on how to take and submit your soil sample at uwlab.soils.wisc.edu/lawn-garden.
Finally, weed control now can make for an easier spring planting. The extension teaching garden at Catlin Green Gardens in Superior has a demonstration of three different weed controls rye cover crop, carpet mulch and black plastic. Take a look at consider trying one of the methods in your own plot. We will see which one works best in the spring.
Enjoy your healthy harvest.