By Jodie Fitz
The fall is the perfect time to prep your garden for the spring planting season. I’m still a relative ‘newbie’ to gardening with only a few years of trial, error and experimentation. I am always exploring and searching for new tips, tricks and guidance.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a wealth of collective knowledge when it comes to growing many things. So, I went straight to the experts who are willing to share their years of experience and knowledge to help a backyard gardener!
Here are a few tips they shared for preparing backyard garden beds in the fall;
Overwintering prep requires homework for different herbs, chicories, etc. Some plants can be protected from the elements and left in the garden, while others need to be brought inside to continue their growth or be put into a dormant state.
Wash Your Tools
Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, who are at the market weekly to answer questions, recommend you clean your tools eliminate diseases and avoid rust.
Clean Up Your Beds
Everyone at the market agrees that you should clean your garden beds at the end of the growing season and remove all of the debris. Consider placing it into a compost pile.
Prep Your Beds
Corrine, owner of Lovin’ Mama Farms, recommends sprinkling organic fertilizer and any micro nutrients on the soil, followed by a cover of compost (2 to 4 inches), and then topped by a thick mulch of weed/seed-free straw. ‘We specifically like May cut rye straw,” detailed Corrine.
Andrea, owner of Green Jeans Farms, recommended using a tarp for direct sown things like carrots and radishes, while straw is nice for transplants like onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and broccoli. “Both methods help to keep the soil intact and the weeds at bay. ”
This year the Saratoga Farmers’ Market collaborated on the ‘Scraps to Soil’ program with Loving Earth Compost. The market has acquired 35 bags of composted soil perfect to work into garden and flower beds. The sale benefits the market which is a 501(c)3 organization. The first bag is $25 and each additional bag is $20; bags are good to add to a 4 x 6 bed. Please reserve your composted soil by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS WEEK’s Recipe: Vegetable Beef Soup
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. The market moves to a new indoor location at the Wilton mall on Saturday, November 4. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates, and sign up for our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org