Preparing Your Garden Beds for Winter

It’s the beginning of November, and my tomato plants are still churning out tomatoes. The beans bit the dust weeks ago. Aphids attacked the carrots, so out they went!  Once everything gets ripped from the ground, how do you get your garden beds ready for winter? Here are some tips I learned from The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith:

Prepare the soil. Edward C. Smith, or “Ed” as I like to call him, recommends preparing the garden beds in the fall rather than waiting until spring. Once you’ve harvested your veggies, take a broadfork or pitchfork and loosen up the soil. Add in some compost.

Plan ahead. If you know where you’re planting what next year, you can amend the soil accordingly. Carrots like leaf mold and cabbages enjoy lime or wood ashes, for example.

Mulch. Ed says mulching is the number-one most important thing to do to prepare your garden for next year’s planting. Cover those beds with a thick layer of leaves or hay. Or, try planting some winter rye. Till it into the ground once it’s 8 to 16 inches long.

Here is a picture of one of my prepared garden beds. I have left the parsley and scallions, which I can eat all winter long, and covered the rest with red dogwood leaves. In the spring I’ll work the decomposed leaves back into the soil and plant some new crops.
mulching garden beds with leaves in fall

Do you have any other tips for fall gardening? Let us know!


  1. I got nothing out of my garden this year. First only a few things came up. Then the green beans got some kind of bug, then the tomatoes didn’t do well because it was so wet.

    Hoping next year will be better. I will be laying out cardboard, compost and leafs in my garden next week since my garden isn’t really giving me anything anyway. It’s still warm here but don’t see a point in waiting lol.

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