Most gardeners advise people to do all the fall clean-up possible before the snow flies. Still, there are certain garden tasks that can and should be left for spring. Oh, sure, you have to clear the trash and store your tools for the winter. You have to make sure perennials are properly protected. But, what don’t you have to do? Are there any tasks better left for spring? Of course there are.
You don’t want to till until spring.
Oh, you can do it if you like. You’ll just have to do it again, though. In the spring, you’ll have to till in your compost so the nutrients are fresh and ready to nourish your produce. Tilling in your compost now does them no good. OK. It may be better than not tilling in your compost at all. It’ll look nice. However, the soil will be much more nutrient dense if you wait.
You don’t have to remove dead plants and produce.
Once again, you can if you like. You can tear those plants out by the roots and toss them in the compost heap. But then again, why would you? They’re already sitting right where they need to go in order to nourish next year’s garden. So, why not just leave them there and till them right into the soil when spring comes? It’s not like your garden area is on a national tour circuit. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect. It’ll be covered in snow this winter anyway. No one will know.
Nix some of the weeding.
You don’t have to make weeding the veggie garden part of your fall clean-up either. Once again, you can just till those weeds right in, come spring. What you can do, though is clear any unsightly weeds from the rest of the property. After all, you do have neighbors.
Can you leave the leaves?
You absolutely cannot under any circumstances leave the leaves on areas of green lawn. You can, however, leave them in the garden area if it’s fenced well enough so that they don’t blow all over the grass. You can also leave them piled into new or existing raised beds. In the new beds, they’ll decay and leave a nice, nutritious base to add your soil and compost to. In the existing beds, they’ll serve as additional fertilizer to till in once spring arrives.
You can leave inferior squash in a heap.
You can do the same with pumpkins, pumpkin seeds and innards and sunflowers. Yup. Just toss them right into your compost or Hugelkultur pile, seeds and all. Guess what will happen in the spring? That’s right. You won’t be having to plant any squash, pumpkins or sunflowers next year. They’ll likely just spring right up out of that awesome compost that’s been brewing all winter.
You can leave unused straw on the top of the heap.
Oh ya, it’s pretty cool, right? Maybe you brought those bales home to make garden paths, mix into the soil or just to sit on around the fire-pit. Now the leftover straw can serve another purpose. It can keep your compost and Hugelkultur piles warm, wet and cooking all winter. So, go ahead. Have a nice cup of tea. Kick your feet up. Leave the fall clean-up for spring. You earned it!