What to do with garden now?

This was my first year ever for wife and I to plant veggies. We plannted beans, zuchinni, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Now that the season is over and all we have left are a few failed last attempts from teh plants to bud more fruit, what do I do. Basically garden season is over here. Do I just leave them all in the ground and in teh pots to die? do I cut them down? I want to be able to reuse the soil in the pots and the garden area again next year for more veggie plants. I'll probably start snowing here in about a month and start frosting regularly in a couple of weeks. Thanks
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For most of the plants you mention, diseases can propagate from one year to the next and so it is best to remove the dead or dying plants now, including the roots. You have then several options. You can put them in the garbage, you can put them on the lawn away from the garden and mow them into smithereens, you can hot compost them to kill pathogens and use the compost in the garden again, or you can cold compost them and use the compost in a flower bed away from the garden.
I use options 2 and 4, by using them as mulch for flowers and fruit shrubs, or just mowing them where I feel the lawn needs a little boost. I leave less disease prone plants in the garden, however (mostly greens and alliums), to compost where they fell.
Surely after one year of gardening the soil, specially in the pots, has been exhausted and so it is a good time now to dump a few inches of fresh organic matter into garden and pots (I use wood chips, manure, grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, and wood ash). If the organic matter is nutrient-rich (manure, kitchen scraps, and wood ash) you can avoid fertilization entirely next year.
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I put down some cedar mulch in the garden b/c someone told me it helped to reduce weeding. Can I just mix this into the soil then?

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Don't. Anywhere I've ever put recycled cedar shavings from pet bedding, everythig has died. I've ended up raking them all up and throwing them in the trash.
Pine shavings are ok tho'.
Cheers!
--
Om.

"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
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don't know about cedar. I use regular wood chips and they ultimately make a nice humus. but no need to mix.
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Cedar may inhibit weeds, but it seems to inhibit everything else too. <lol>
Pine shavings make wonderful mulch and so do dead leaves.
Drive around town right now. Many idiots are discarding bags and bags of raked leaves. It is fanTAStic mulch for the winter!
And it's free. ;-)
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Om.

"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch." -Jack Nicholson
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It does help to move the garden or rotate the crops to give it a chance to recover naturally. I would add organic materials now and let them work over the winter to improve the soil.
Remove all the old plants first.
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THanks again everyone. Gotta get at it before it's too cold.

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