[title subtitle=”WORDS Megan Lankford, Horticulture Supervisor, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
IMAGE Nikoline Arns”][/title]
If you haven’t already put your vegetable garden to bed for the winter, now is a great time. Cleaning out debris from previous plantings and covering the soil with six to twelve inches of straw mulch will keep your garden soil and its inhabitants happy and healthy during the chill of winter. Beyond acting like a blanket for your soil, when spring rolls around you won’t have to mulch your spring vegetables! Plus, it breaks down over time and feeds the soil food web, which helps create healthy soil and plants. While your garden sleeps, you can dream of spring greens and peas, and warmer days.
Removing plant debris is essential in preventing disease. Some pests can only develop on certain plants, thus if the plants are removed, so are most of the disease-causing organisms. Additionally, rotating crop families can help prevent disease. A simple crop rotation would be cabbage one year (Brassica family), onions the next (Amaryllidaceae family), and Swiss chard the third (Amaranthaceae family).
For now, dream of spring rains and next year’s vegetable garden! Explore the new seed catalogs and scour the pages for something new to try.
What You Can Plant:
All trees, shrubs, and perennials that are hardy at least one hardiness zone north of your own.