We spent a good part of yesterday out getting the garden ready for winter. It seems we move in stages - removing old plants, desperately searching for that last potato, etc. - and we are closing in on the end, I think. It is always a struggle to remove plants that are doing well, and I often just don't have the heart to do it. That's another big reason for delaying or spreading out the process.
Our beds are lasagna gardens (see my review of the book in yesterday's post), and truly possess some of the best soil I've ever seen. I also practice companion planting (see yesterday's post again for the book that inspired it all), and so the garden tends to overflow from such intensive planting. This also helps me justify all those plants I can never resist in spring, including a perennial section of natives and non-natives. (More on that later.)
To make up for the intensive planting and offer next year's community members the best shot, we add thick layers of leaves (predominantly oak if Grandma's trees have dropped their leaves and we rake them up before a big wind) and composted manure courtesy of Bailey and Whitmore, Inc. It breaks down nicely over the winter, and we end up with a fresh set of nutrients for us all to enjoy one way or the other.
Still not sure what to do for winter? I know I spent a fair amount of time in my early gardening days staring at the soil and perusing books to see what I was meant to do. Here are a couple links that might offer some handy advice.
Moss in the City November 2007 E-Newsletter "Putting the Garden to Bed"
A nice article that gave me a few good reminders and some information I hadn't known before.
Organic Gardening Almanac
You can choose your region, and then get a handy list of things to do for the month. Some of it will feel like what you already know, but I often find things I hadn't heard about before.