As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your garden. Conventional wisdom dictates that tilling the soil – digging it up to loosen the structure and break up weeds, by hand or with a tiller – should be your first step. But is it really useful?
It is complicated. At On the one hand, plowing is a great way to aerate the soil and incorporate compost, both of which are beneficial. (It’s also much easier to do in the fall, when the soil tends to be warmer and easier to work with than in early spring.) On the other hand, plowing pretty much destroys ecosystems. that earthworms, insects, bacteria and fungi have passed through all spring. and summer construction, making the ground less plant-friendly and contributes to erosion. Another disadvantage: like a blog post from Oldworldgardens.com points out, plowing drives weeds and seeds to surface level deep into the soil, giving them all winter to root and establish.
What i say ishere are the pros and cons of a fall till, and unsurprisingly, your decision will depend on your garden. If you have a few small patches or flower beds, you can probably ignore them – there just isn’t a lot of soil involved, so you need to avoid anything that encourages erosion. Instead of, the Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends dig up weeds, rocks and other unwanted things by hand, then ccover the ground with mulch and / or tarps to keep it warm during the winter months. For large gardens, you may decide that the benefits of plowing outweigh the risks, especially if you plan to add compost and / or fertilizer to the soil while you plow. Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may also be better to take care of it before the ground freezes.
These are not hard and fast rules; it’s your garden, and you can cultivate it if you want. Either way, before you jump in, it’s a good idea to check with your state university’s extension office. They will have proven tips for overwintering your garden so you can get started as early as spring.