Putting the Garden to Bed for Winter

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

There’s a lot of clipping and snipping to be done in late October, doing what I refer to as ‘Putting the garden to bed for the winter’. Apart from grasses with interesting seed heads, plants that are still flowering or that have berries for birds, we go to town cutting back the borders. This opens them up for easier weeding and for feeding the soil. TIP: It’s much easier to do this before heavy rain turns vegetation into a wet slimy mess!
putting garden to bed
Feeding the soil at The Garden Path consists of mulching beds with layers of aged horse manure, compost, leaves and seaweed. There’s no shortage of leaves in late October! I promote flowering and fruiting with a mulch of seaweed, collected from local beaches after winter storms, but you can use granular kelp as a substitute for this if there is no ocean in sight. A dusting of dolomite lime over garden beds keeps the soil pH neutral in this region which experiences heavy winter rains. These same heavy rains mean you do not have to wash traces of salt off the seaweed before applying.
Feeding soil
In the vegetable garden we mulched with a layer of spoiled hay first (from a local horse owner); on top of this we added a heavy mulch of horse manure, which will be followed by a mulch of leaves, and finally by sowing a green manure crop (stay tuned!)
putting garden to bed 2