Question: Should I Mulch My Garden in Fall? What Do I Do in Preparation?
Yes, you should mulch your garden in fall. I discuss the many benefits of mulching in a later FAQ. But the question I focus on in the present FAQ is, How do you prepare for this task? There's a long winter ahead (if you live in the North), and you want to ensure that, come spring, you'll be all ready to plant when the opportunity arises....
Answer: When all the plants in fall vegetable gardens and annual flower gardens have been harvested or are dead, garden mulching can begin. But prior to mulching gardens, take the following steps:
- Remove plant debris from gardens:
- If plant debris (spent annual flowers and vegetable plants) appears disease-free, compost it.
- Otherwise, dispose of it.
- Don't let weeds remain in your garden: you'll only have to deal with them (or their seedlings) in spring.
- Now you're ready for rototilling your soil (if you've determined that you need to mix in lime, that is, to sweeten the soil).
- If using leaves as a garden mulch, shred them first (for example, by running the lawn mower over them before collecting them).
- Note: the frequently asked question, Why should I shred leaves before using them as mulch? is answered in the next FAQ.