I have a small (15 sqft) raised bed garden which I planted for the first
time this past summer. I've pulled up most of what was in there except for
a perennial lavender I have in one corner. Can anyone recommend some kind
of ground cover to plant for the winter? Or should I just mulch it? Just
don't want to lose that precious soil I've got in there.
I'm in Boston, zone 6A.
Thanks for any advice you can give!
If you are going to plant flowers and/or shrubs in the spring, I'd pu
on a 3" layer of compost and cover with shredded mulch. You're soi
will love you and so will your plants in the spring.
Thanks, Newt. I am actually going to be planting vegetables (tomatoes,
peppers, basil, greens, beans, etc). Is the advice the same? I had planned
to work some compost in to the soil come spring--is it better to do it now?
If you are going to plant veggies, it would have been great to hav
planted a cover crop (sometimes called green manure) that you coul
turn back into the soil in the spring. I'll give you some links o
Since it's too late for that, you could do the compost now and it wil
have time to improve the tilth (consistency/texture) and add microbe
to your soil. Another option would be to build a lasagna bed there.
It depends on how much work you want to do. I would do one or th
other now so that mother nature has time to improve the soil over th
winter. The healthier your soil the healthier your veggies will be an
better able to fight off pests and diseases. Here's a bunch of link
you can read over the winter.
Understanding your soil:
Peat moss - to use or not to use:
I realize that I've given you quite a bit of reading, but I think i
will all be helpful. Don't hesitate to ask more questions.
Wow, that is a ton of info! Thank you! I would have liked to plant cover
crops--actually that is what I was originally asking about but I see that I
worded my question poorly. But you are right, it is definitely too late for
that (next year, no going away in September/October--too much to get done in
the garden!), especially since the garden is under 5 inches of snow right
now :( It shouldn't stay that way for too long, though, so I think I will
take your recommendation to work some compost in to the soil and cover it
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question and for all that
You are very welcome! If/when the snow melts, you could even just pu
the compost on top of the soil then and turn it under in the spring.
The nutrients will trickle down over the winter. I did that one year.
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