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How do you prepare for the next season when your crops are finished?

Being honest, I'm tired of my summer crops. They're nearing the end of their production anyways, and at the end I felt I was just fighting to keep what I was growing. So now, I'm ready to harvest what's left and pull up my plants. My question is how do I go about "purifying" the beds from those pesky attackers (i.e. fungus, bugs, slugs) so that I can start fresh?

Beefsteak tomatoes and jalapeno peppers
Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Sep 11, 2013

    I suggest you use cover crops which will overwinter in your beds. They prevent soil erosion, smother out weed seed and provide extra nutrients to your next crop going in in the spring. You local extension office can provide you with a detailed list of cover crops that do best in your area, so you can pick what would work best in your garden.

  • Jeanna
    Jeanna Texico, IL
    on Sep 11, 2013

    Annual Rye Grass Straw, or Old Hay

  • TJ
    TJ Andover, MN
    on Sep 11, 2013

    I agree with Catherine to check with your local extension office to find out what cover crops are good in your area. What's good up here in Minnesota where its gets really cold winters could be invasive in your warmer climate. One of the problems with straw or hay is that it can be difficult to find some without weed seeds in it. We also use pine straw which we get from our numerous pine trees.

  • Carole
    Carole Australia
    on Sep 11, 2013

    You don't say whether your crops are in the ground, or in raised veg beds - depending on which, might make a difference. It they are in the ground and you practice crop rotation, ie don't plant anything from the same family in the same spot for example if you planted root veg, then plant leafy veg next time as they utilise different nutrients. If you do this I don't think you need to 'clean' your soil as such. Crop rotation will help to prevent disease and to prevent the soil becoming too depleted in one element. I would be turning the soil over and adding plenty of good compost and aged cow manure, but that is just me and it may depend on what you are going to grow there next. Good luck!

    • Catherine Smith
      Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
      on Sep 14, 2013

      @Libby @ Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth Don't plant melons, cukes or vining plants in that bed next year. Try beans, or peas, chop up the plants once their done producing, spread them over you soil and allow them to break down right there. It's a good way to get nitrogen back in your soil.

  • Sherrie
    Sherrie Nixa, MO
    on Sep 11, 2013

    We get compost free in our area. Since I am ending my garden I start loading it up and dumping it in my garden. After I have pulled all my plants I retill the bed. Then I get several more truck loads and dump it on top of my garden. And leave it. Beginning of spring I till what's been left over. I always keep adding compost. There are several farmers that also will give use manure and I use it also but I always till it into the soil. Your farmers, and recycling centers and the extension center always gives me great advice.

    • Libby @ Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth
      Libby @ Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth Rockingham, NC
      on Sep 14, 2013

      @Catherine Smith I just found out that our landfill has that as well and they are particular about what goes in the pile. They sell it for $3 a scoop. I'm definitely going to check it out.

  • Mikell Paulson
    Mikell Paulson Silverdale, WA
    on Sep 13, 2013

    You show you have green tomatoes, you can pull the plant and hang it upside down and get vine ripen tomatoes for several more months! I did that here in WA. state and had tomatoes all winter long! Just hang them where they will not freeze!

    • Libby @ Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth
      Libby @ Artistic Expressions by Elisabeth Rockingham, NC
      on Sep 14, 2013

      @Mikell Paulson Hum, I didn't realize that. Thanks for sharing this info! When you pull the plants, do you have to put them in a container to hang upside from? How does that work?

  • Hilary Aulando
    Hilary Aulando Canada
    on Sep 14, 2013

    Just hang the plants by the roots in the garage or a cool basement. I have an old Ikea coat rack with 6 hangers that i use for this purpose-last year I had tomatoes ripening right into November. Of course the smallest very hard green ones may not ripen and will rot and fall off, but anything that has reached a decent size will eventually ripen/

  • Mikell Paulson
    Mikell Paulson Silverdale, WA
    on Sep 14, 2013

    It might be the climate but I picked tomatoes off the vines until March. I shared with the neighbors, and everyone enjoyed them! I sold my house and the neighbor came to the house with a wheelbarrow and asked if he could have the plants. I of course gave them to him, as they were just little tomatoes then. He said he got tomatoes until the first of May!! Worth a try, The last time I tried was putting them in a guest bedroom and having them in boxes covered with news papper. I prefer the hanging method much better!

  • Catherine Smith
    Catherine Smith Fredericksburg, VA
    on Sep 14, 2013

    I also use boxes with newspaper, I wasn't happy with the results when we hung the plants, but it may have been the space. We had to use our unheated garage, may have been too cold.

  • Mikell Paulson
    Mikell Paulson Silverdale, WA
    on Sep 15, 2013

    My garage was not heated, but it was finished and insulated! Not many people know about this little spot in WA. We don't get much rain or snow and we don't normally have a lot of freezing weather! Three places are Port Angeles, Sequim, and Port Townsend! All are near the water and the mountains, sea to ski in 30 minutes!!

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