Every serious gardener knows that the success of their plants depends on the soil minerals and nutrients. As you harvest your vegetables during fall, you should be thinking of preparing your soil for the next planting season. You may be thinking it too early because winter is just around the corner. But, you must prepare your soil for a smooth transition from fall to winter as well as set it for next planting season. Here is how to achieve that.
Fall organic soil preparation tips
Check soil pH
You may be wondering why you need to check your soil pH yet you did it last year. However, this should be your first step towards soil preparation. As you add natural nutrients if you practice organic gardening, the nutrients and minerals in the soil may change. So, invest in an electronic tester or pH kit that are inexpensive but accurate to guide you on the pH adjustments you should take. Most vegetables thrive in s slightly acidic soil pH of between 6.3 and 6.9. So, if your soil is below this range, consider adding lime during fall. If your soil is too alkaline, you should add elemental sulfur. Both soil amendments are organic and should be implemented during fall to allow time for incorporation before the next planting season.
Add organic amendments and compost
Fall is the ideal time to add beneficial organic matter like manure and compost. Applying 1 to 2 inches of manure or compost on top of your beds will help in resupplying soil nutrients that might have been lost and set the garden ready for next planting season. Most organic gardening enthusiasts add a top layer of light organic material such as straw to prevent early spring weeds and nutrient leaching. But, you can add whatever type of organic manure or compost you have. But ensure that the organic compost and manure are free of weed seeds before applying them to your garden.
Plant a cover crop
Gardens and soil benefit a lot from cover crops. Use annual rye to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. It also protects your garden during winter from leaching nutrients out of the bare soil. Ideal cover crops are ones that dig deeply into the soil with their roots. A characteristic that adds valuable soil nutrients as it loosens the soil deeply with the root system. Popular and good cover crops include plants such as winter peas, clovers, and vetch. However, they should be inoculated before being planted to boost germination. Oats and rye grow easily and can be broadcast on the soil. Cover crops choke out weeds that grow during winter.
You need nutrient and mineral rich soil for a good harvest. So, it is advisable to take time when preparing your organic garden for the next planting season. There are many ways of preparing your soil during fall. Above are just a few, but you can always consult an organic gardening expert to ensure that you are on the right track.