Preparing your fall garden


September vegetable garden chores

In a few weeks, slightly cooler weather will be arriving along the upper Gulf Coast. Now’s the time to get your garden ready for fall crops.

The first step, of course, is to clean your beds. Remove all the spent vegetable plants, chop them up and put them in the compost.

The next thing to do is remove any weeds, including that rampant pest, Bermuda grass. Try to get as much of the root systems out as you can. Since many of them probably are seeding, don’t put these in the compost. Instead, if you have a green waste pickup, put the weeds in there. If you don’t have this service, dispose of them some other way. Hopefully, you won’t burn them. As a last resort, put them in the trash.

Spread organic compost over the entire garden.

You might want to mix the compost into the top couple of inches of soil. Some gardeners simply spread the compost on top of the ground, and let it work itself in over the growing season. After laying the compost, spread about a quarter of a cup per square foot of organic fertilizer and rake it into the compost. Then wet the compost.

In the southeast Texas area, there are several organic composting facilities, but none elsewhere along the coast that I could find. For Southeast Texas, you can find natural composter facilities at this site: http://www.findacomposter.com.

There are many types of bagged compost labeled “organic,” but in many, the “organic” label is misleading. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Cool-weather weeds are a problem. However, since most weeds are annuals and reproduce by spreading their seed around, prevention is worth more than the cure. Some gardeners like to lay down a mulch of straw or pine needles to discourage weeds. Some even put a layer of newspaper down beneath the mulch for further weed protection. After laying paper, wet it down to keep it in place while you spread the mulch.

Wait a few days before planting, but, if you’re in a rush, go ahead and plant.

Good gardening.

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