As summer ends and your harvest is collected, it’s time to clean up your summer garden. There are many creative ways to pack up your harvest for later on in the year. If you have herbs, cut them back and get them in the freezer or try putting them into some oil to infuse. Dig up the leftover plant and roots and toss them into the compost! You can freeze your berries, make pies, or preserve them in jams and jellies. The same thing goes for veggies as well. Try pickling your vegetables, freezing them, or adding them to recipes.
Composting is the perfect natural way to add nutrients back into your garden after cleaning up your garden. These plants can improve compost nutrient content are fairly simple to grow. Legumes have a relationship with bacteria in the soil to provide nitrogen for composting. Grow legumes and add the soil to the compost pile to get those nutrients! Planting clover or alfalfa along the edges of your garden make it easy to harvest and throw into your compost pile for extra nitrogen. Adding borage and comfrey are fast growing and add nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. Yarrow is a natural fertilizer that you can grow to have healthier compost, mulch, and plants. Radishes and kale are not only delicious, but your scraps can go into your compost for extra nutrients.
The Clean Up
When it comes to actually getting down and dirty in your garden, remember the crop rotation system! This is a natural way for each plant to get important nutrients from the soil. Rotate your leaf plants to where the legumes were since there is a great amount of nitrogen in the soil there. The fruits will take place of where the leaf plants were since they need phosphorus instead of a large amount of nitrogen. The roots will go where the fruits had grown to get potassium. To complete the cycle, the legumes will take place of the roots to add nitrogen to the soil there!
Cut back any vines and mound up soil around the bottom of the vines to prevent frosts ruining them. Cover dormant perennials with hay to prevent them being overrun with weeds. Remove your annuals and place them into the compost bin. If you see any signs of disease or bacteria, discard them in the trash instead. You do not want to infect your compost bin. Next you should remove all the weeds and debris from the bed and plant a cover crop for winter!
Now that you’ve cleaned up your summer garden, you should have a nutritional compost pile and new space for your fall garden!