• If you get heavy frosts in winter and winter is nearly upon you it may be best to start winterizing the garden. This includes pulling up the plants, turning the soil and if you want to plant earlier next spring laying in a heavy layer of mulch material. I prefer straw since it comes in handy bales, rots relatively quickly when the bale s broken and 'fluffed' however it rots slower when left in 'sheets'. A bale tends to break apart into compact squares of straw helpful if you heavily mulch between plants. If frost is still a few months off for you, then you might be able to put in a cool season crop, like lettuce, carrot, broccoli, turnip, parsnips, even some variety of potato - mostly root crops are considered 'cool season' type crops. Peas are an exception. One should rotate crops and like crops - meaning if you planted potatoes in Spot A then you should NOT plant tomatoes nor potatoes in that spot for at least a year. A decent starting point for Crop rotation can be found here: They have several years of charts demonstrating how to rotate crops to prevent diseases and pests from building up in the soil, and a quick gander reflects that they are attempting to balance the needs of the soil with 'helpful' plants - meaning they attempt to rotate one crop in that will rebalance what the last crop stripped out of the soil. Succession planting takes into account that there are cold weather crops and warm weather crops and that some veg requires a long season, other require a short season. Succession planting is located here: Thus far I have covered mostly veg. Flowering plants come in two forms - perennial and annual. Annual is any plant you need to plant each year. Perennial is often broader - a self seeding plant - one that will drop lots of seeds at its location ad will sprout is considered perennial. However perennial is 'technically' a plant that sprouts from its roots each year or grows from its base store - bulbs are perennial. If you have a perennial plant you may only need to trim it back or cut it down. Sometimes a Perennial does both - sprouts from older roots and grows readily from self dropped seeds. We have what we call 4 o'clocks - very hardy, sprouts from roots and drops lots of seeds. In their nature they are a 'weed' meaning they can (and around here they have) take over. All organic matter you take out of a garden - IF you haven't used herbicides and pesticides, should be composted. Composting is easy - toss everything in a pile and let nature take its course. You could get one of those composter bins that you turn with a handle all it will do is cook the pile faster. I prefer the old wire cage and piling thing in there for a season or two, letting it do its thing - maybe I turn it if the mood strikes. I usually have three cages side by side - one cage is having stuff added to it, one is half composted - sometimes I turn its contents - the last is nearly finished or is finished waiting for me to go out and spread it around. I also sheet compost - this means throwing everything and spreading it around over the ground - works well between plants and rows in earlier days before I had grass pathways I would compost in the pathway - topping it off with squares of strawbale making paving bricks. This means that say tomato plants should be pulled, have the excess soil knocked off the roots, and then have the stems and trunk chopped up - I prefer to throw things under our mulching mower you do not have to be that keen on chopping, cutting it down with hand pruners to 6-8 inch long bits and pieces works as well. The whole plant will eventually rot, however the smaller the bits and pieces going in the faster it will rot. I tend to stack greens and browns in layers - Brown being leaves and twigs, greens being grass clippings, pulled plants. DO NOT EVER put diseased plants in your compost bin. I have a "diseased" composting area where I throw diseased plants and cover them with soil. Eventually the disease dies out. In your home compost bin while it is possible to kill out a disease during the process, it is also possible that incomplete or not warm enough composting took place meaning you spread the disease around. Any and all gardens - be it vegetable or be it a flower garden should have a plan. Before you start digging you need to research the flora you will use, find out how big it gets, what it needs in the way of water and soils and in the case of a vegetable garden, how much you need to meet the needs of your family. Unfortunately I can not find a site that lists each type of veg and tells you how many to plant per person. I got my information through books from the public library a decade or so ago. I recall I went through a lot of books to get that kind of information. Most of the books gave a general range saying something like - 3 to 5 tomato plants per person depending on if you will make sauces or not, and depending on if all members in the house hold eat tomatoes. This year I planted 3 beefsteak for canning - 2 Roma's for salad and a little bit of canning. I actually ended up with a lot more Roma variety tomatoes so ended up blanching, peeling and dicing them and freezing several (9) quart baggies of Roma tomato - these will be incorporated into our spaghetti sauce. That is the only thing I use tomatoes for other than fresh ones on bread, in salads or by themselves. I do not make tomato paste, tomato juice nor tomato sauce - I make spaghetti/pasta sauce which is mostly tomatoes which have been peeled, diced and cooked with seasonings - about half of that is blended and cooked down into a thicker slurry - not really a paste or a sauce since I leave the seeds in and there is pulp. I eat raw tomatoes - the spousal unit sneers at them so I do not plant as many tomato plants for two people as most books suggest. This past week I planted potatoes. A small section of my garden - I took the baby potatoes left over from my earlier harvest and redistributed them in a new patch of ground where they will be semi-protected from winter (around here winter is light frosts and lots of rain) and are in an area where low winter sunlight will provide them with 'long' periods of sun. I have already prepped one garden bed for carrot, turnip and parsnips I need to wait another week or so before I throw the seed in the ground. I have a 4 year cycle similar to that link above.
    • Jewels Vern
      Wow! You ask a simple question and you get a PAGEANT!

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