Getting the garden ready for winter

We are continuing to harvest our fall crops of kale, chard, leeks, winter squash, pumpkins, parsnips, rutabagas, bok choi, broccoli and carrots, and the still-ripening hoophouse tomatoes.

fall bed turn over 09 fall cover crop sowing 09

For the beds that aren’t growing any fall or winter crops, it’s time to put them to rest for the winter. Because our soil is so sandy, we’re adding more organic material in the form of compost and aged manure, and turning it in. Then, we’re sowing a cover crop mix of annual rye, fava beans, austrian field peas and crimson clover.

fall cover crop09 fall cover crop2 09

It looks like lots of grass is growing in our beds, but the cover crops will hold the soil and take up nutrients as they grow, thereby reducing the leaching from winter rains. In the spring, 3-4 weeks before planting, all that nutritious vegetation will be turned over to compost back into the soil, nourishing it. So, this winter, we aren’t growing food, we’re growing healthy soil!