Now that the temperatures are dropping, and your fall garden is slowing down, it’s time to think about wrapping up the growing season in your schoolyard garden.
Before winter comes, and it’s too chilly to work outside with your students, you will want to clean out your garden so that it’s neat, empty and ready for planting in the spring! When cleaning out your schoolyard garden, refer to this checklist so you don’t forget anything:
- Pull out all plant debris from the garden, including dead garden plants, tomatoes and peppers that have fallen off of plants, etc.
- Pull out all weeds
- Compost dead plants and weeds
- Do not compost tomato plants, to prevent soil-borne diseases spreading in your garden
- Do not compost any weeds that have formed seed-heads
- Pull all straw mulch off your garden beds so that the soil is bare. Many “bad” bugs including Harlequin Bugs (which were especially terrible this year) will lay eggs to over-winter in your garden. By removing the mulch, these eggs will be exposed to freezing temperatures and will hopefully be less of a nuisance next year!
- Remove stakes, cages, and any other supports from the garden. Lay tomato cages on empty beds
- Use a garden fork or hand cultivators to turn the soil throughout the bed (garden soil is compacted during the gardening season by the hot sun and by watering)
- Store hoses, hose carts, watering wands and any other garden tools inside for the winter
- Check in with SYG staff if you would like help cleaning out your schoolyard garden!