Closing the Garden by Abbe Cullen
Closing the Garden? Don’t worry; everyone is welcome in the garden all year long! Children are encouraged to be there too, but only with parents or adultsplease. The term “closing the garden” is a widely used expression that means preparing our soil for the New England winter ahead. Although one might think that there is nothing much that needs to happen to the garden once the plants have all gone by, the practice of winterizing the garden leads to healthier garden soil.
Closing the garden or “putting it to bed,” means pulling up all dead vegetation, turning over the soil to clear out bugs and their eggs, and covering the soil so it doesn’t dry out. Old vegetation left in the garden can become a home for pests to lay their eggs and then feast upon new growth in the spring. Adding lime and mulch to the garden can minimize pest infestation, balance out PH levels for optimal plant growth, and help to maintain moisture levels over the winter months. These steps can also improve existing plant life that goes dormant and comes back again in the spring.
Plants that return in the spring are called perennials and include herbs, flowers/shrubs and some fruits/vegetables. However, most vegetables are annuals and die off with the first frost with the exception of Asparagus, Rhubarb, Garlic, Radicchio, Horseradish and Artichokes. Our existing herbs, blueberries and strawberries will wake up again in the spring, and be ready to share with the Bethany Hill Place community throughout the growing seasons.
Although the hoses are turned off and the gardens almost barren, you’re welcome to come sit in the sun and contemplate what you would like to grow next year. Garden plots will be available for planting in the spring, and we hope to have lots of new gardeners to share our harvests with. Please Ask Abbe about it.