With my kids going back to school next week and the upcoming Labour Day celebrations comes the stark reminder that for those of us in the northern hemisphere winter is only a few short months away.
Perhaps you’re harvesting your bounty of fresh fruits and veggies now. Perhaps you’re canning or preserving some for the long winter months. Either way many feel it’s nearing the end of the gardening season. I’ll show you why Autumn is the best time to plan a garden for next spring.
To me autumn is the beginning of gardening, a time to prepare for next spring. The cool winds of fall bring with it an abundance of leaves. Leaves are natures mulch, a near perfect carbon source for a compost pile and an excellent additive to a worm bin. Autumn also supplies the last of the seasons fresh grass clippings, veggie and fruit trimmings from preserves. All perfect compost ingredients for the organic gardener. It’s the time when everything you need to start a compost pile or start a worm composter are readily at hand.
Many gardeners begin to think about their gardens in spring as the temperatures warm. They order worms in the spring, start mulching, start looking for seeds and transplants. This is too late!
Fall is the time to mulch, the leaves are under your feet. Mulching in fall allows microbes to begin the composting process and the mulch to become saturated with water from the snowfalls. This improves drought resistance during the hot season the following summer and gives an early microbial boost to your soil when temperatures rise again.
Autumn is the time for building compost piles, the abundance of “waste” from gardening related activities combined with an abundance of nutrient rich leaves makes building a pile easy.
Spring is always the busy time for those selling compost worms. If you start vermicomposting in spring you’ll have minimal casting for next planting season. Starting in fall helps ensure you’ve got plenty of good quality vermicompost for starting seedlings and transplants. (It lets you get your hands into the dirt all winter too 😊).
Almost time to go make some soil- be back with more soon