5 Steps To Maximize Your Next Harvest
As the growing season comes to a close, it's not uncommon for plants to be pulled and the garden beds left dormant for the winter. BUT, the end of the gardening season is one of the most critical times to set yourself up for success the coming season.
For the past several months, our precious plant babies have been pulling nutrients from the soil to grow big and strong. In doing so, our garden beds end up in their most depleted state and are begging to be fed. Remember, we feed the soil, not the plants.
So how do we do that?
Below are five easy steps you can take to get your garden beds rejuvenated so that next season you are starting with beds brimming with nutrients. Follow these steps to wrap up your season and you'll be setting yourself up to have an amazing harvest next year.
Step 1: Reflect
The season is fresh in your mind. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the season and planning for next year. Write down three bullet points for each of the following questions:
- Which plants brought me joy/happiness throughout the season?
- Which plants frustrated me and brought negative energy?
- What am I curious/fascinated to grow next season?
Step 2: Add Compost
Your plants have pulled tons of nutrients and minerals from the beds the last few months. Now is the BEST time to begin replenishing the beds so that the ecosystem is set and brimming with nutrients next season.
Add 4-8cm of mostly finished compost to the top of your beds. Over the coming months, this compost will further breakdown from worms and microorganisms eating away at it. As they eat away at the compost, nutrients will be freed up for your plants.
Step 3: Add Microbes
Get as many microbes and healthy bacteria into your garden beds as possible. These billions of little workers will eat away at the compost over the winter and free up nutrients and trace minerals to help your next plant babies to grow big and strong.
This can be done with a Worm Tea or our Liquid Gold - which is a combination of worm castings, compost, molasses, and non-chlorinated water brewed (via an oxygenator) for 24-48hrs. Add 1Gallon of Liquid Gold per 10square feet of garden space.
Step 4: Add Mulch
Add a 6-10cm layer of mulch (such as leaves you've collected or hay) on top of the compost to provide insulation. This layer of mulch will insulate the compost layer and allow the microbes to eat away at the compost all winter. Additionally, you can pile the mulch so the highest point is in the middle of your bed. Doing so will have water trickling off the side of the bed opposed to into it.
Step 5: Cover
Cover your beds or pots with either Landscape Fabric or a tarp. This will help keep all the mulch in place (blocking it from wind) and simultaneously help the water run off to the side.
Using a dark colour (i.e. black landscape fabric, a dark green tarp) will draw in the most heat from the sun and create the warmest environment for the beds.
Here is a full video of me tucking away a few of my garden beds for the winter using the process above.
If you need any of the materials mentioned above (compost, liquid gold, landscape fabric) or a hand wrapping up your beds, just let me know as I'll be helping a number of folks over the coming weeks!