Whether you are new to gardening, or have been doing it for years, there is one crucial step that many people forget to accomplish. That step is the post harvest cleanup. While you can always simply leave your harvested plants where they lie and simply plow everything under, why would you really want to do that? Not only do you run the risk of inviting disease, you will leave a mess that is decidedly unattractive. A proper post harvest cleanup isn't that difficult to accomplish, as long as you follow these simple guidelines.
- Check your plants for disease. As you are harvesting, and immediately after the harvest, take a look at the remaining plants. Check to make sure that there are no signs of any disease. If there are, remove the plant immediately instead of plowing everything under, and discard the plants properly. While this may seem like over kill, it is the only sure way to ensure that the infestation does not lie in wait for the following year. If you
- Pull up dead plants. You can always plow your harvested plants under, but that runs risks as mentioned above, and limits the effectiveness and use of the plants. Instead, pull up any and all plants that remain. This will help you to also get rid of any weeds that may have cropped up, as well as getting an early start on preparing the garden for next year.
- Harvest any seeds. Once you have removed all of the harvested or dead plants from your garden, take the time to look for any seeds that may remain. Harvest these seeds, and store them for the next year. This will help save some money and time when the next planting season comes around.
- Discard plants to your compost bin. After you have finished harvesting any seeds that you find, put the remains into your composting pile or bin. This will help provide some much needed nutrients for the next growing season, and ensure that you can save some money for the following year's planting season. The more compost that you can come up with the better, since that means you won't need to go out and buy it yourself.
- Prepare the garden for next year. Begin getting the garden ready for next year. If at all possible use a tiller, and turn up all of the soil that you have in your garden area. Spread some slow release fertilizer over the area, and mix it all together. This will help restore any nutrients that you lost during the growing season, while also preparing the soil for the next year.
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