Your landscape maintenance work doesn't end just because winter is approaching. In fact, some of the most important work you can do is prepping your soil in advance of the next growing season. Adding mulch to your garden in fall is a very good idea.
Whether you use a "living" mulch or a conventional kind, your garden will benefit from the added protection, and your soil will be much richer thanks to your efforts. There's a long winter ahead (if you live in the North), and you want to ensure that, come spring, you'll be ready to plant when the opportunity arises.
Preparing Planting Beds for Mulching in Fall
When all the plants in fall vegetable gardens and annual flower gardens have been harvested or are dead, garden mulching can begin. But prior to mulching gardens, take the following steps:
Remove plant debris from the planting bed:
If plant debris (spent annual flowers and vegetable plants) appears disease-free, compost it. Otherwise, dispose of it.
Do not let weeds remain in your garden: you will only have to deal with them (or their seedlings) in spring.
Rototill your soil if you've determined that you need to mix in garden lime, to sweeten the soil, for example).
If you'll be using leaves as a garden mulch, shred them first by running the lawn mower over them before collecting.
"Living mulch" is synonymous with "green manure" and "cover crop" and is just what it sounds like: live plants that are grown in a planting bed that take the place of a conventional mulch.
For example, if you're concerned that a large bed (typically a vegetable bed) might suffer from soil erosion over the course of the winter, you could grow a crop of winter rye (not to be confused with ryegrass used for lawns) on top of it. The roots of the winter plants would help keep the soil in place as snow freezes and melts.
If you have any questions about mulch, feel free to message us. We're available through our 800 number, facebook and email!