As summer takes its final breaths, it’s time to pull ourselves together to prepare for a winter vegetable garden. With the arrival of cool morning breeze, this change in temperature directs us towards getting equip with all the resources needed for preparing a perfect fall vegetable garden. It is the time to welcome new seeds in your vegetable garden. Your autumn garden is all set to accept these new seeds to be sowed for winter vegetable garden.
This article is dedicated to urban dirt lovers to guide them for preparing a perfect winter vegetable garden. This will ensure healthy supply of organic food as meals on their dining tables during cold day lunches, supper and dinner.
There are certain steps that should be carried out in your winter vegetable garden while preparing to face cold breezes and to have your kitchen basket full of fresh veggies all the season.
Removal of Debris
At the start of autumn garden should be treated as your child who needs to be pampered before the winter comes around. Autumn season is perfect to do all necessary actions to make your garden ready for winter crops.
In addition to this, autumn garden should be tackled in such a way that it strengthens the vegetable garden for the next two season viz., winter and summer.
So, first step to prepare for winter vegetable garden is to make sure that all the dead plants and other debris are removed and cleaned out from the soil. Any deceased plant left, can cause the spread of a disease. A dirty vegetable garden means unhealthy gardening. So start with cleaning the garden.
On the other hand, healthy left over’s of plants or plant debris should be mixed with the compost to make the soil healthy and nutritious. Adding them into the crops of vegetable garden optimize the drainage, expose oxygen, release compaction and enriches the soil.
Adding Strength to the Soil of Winter Vegetable Garden
In my opinion, using chemicals in your soil during preparations of winter vegetable garden will be quite harmful especially when there is another way out. The soil can be enhanced and enriched by adding compost (homemade compost or commercial compost), vermicompost, compost tea, cover crops and animals manure. In case of animal manure, animals should also be fed with the organic feed. This will be less expensive and completely natural.
It should be kept in mind that, your vegetable garden is exhausted producing all those crops during spring and summer, spending so much energy and nutrition.
Amongst the wide range of options available for adding strength to the soil, fall is the season to flourish your fall vegetable garden and make it healthy and refresh all over again.
On the other hand, winter rains carry lots of nutrition which get buried deep underground in the soil. So I suggest tilling vegetable garden soil as it is important if you want to avoid surface run off.
The biggest concern of my blog readers and followers are the pests that attack and harm their beloved veggies, fruits and plants grown in kitchen garden, backyards, terrace gardens and in pots or containers in the modern day urban gardening system. In fact, if you search Google Analytics, you will get more queries regarding how to control pest in kitchen garden? rather ways of growing them. To help my readers and followers, today I am going to tell you guys about an innovative mode to control pest in kitchen garden. I got my hands on this technique while I was at an International conference about pest control few years back in Karachi-Pakistan. In simple yet effective manner, this technique involves the application of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) around your plants to hamper pest movements towards plant by killing them.
What is Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?
You know about marine phytoplankton? Right! Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is actually the remains of skeleton of these phytoplanktons after they get fossilized. The skeleton is made of silica which is natural and found extensively in earth’s crust. It is generally off-white in color and looks like talcum powder. Believe me, anyone maintain a kitchen garden and suffering from the problem of pest attack, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the ultimate solution to control pest in kitchen garden. The reason is that, this soft talcum powder like material is microscopically sharp enough to harm exoskeleton or soft waxy body layer of the pests in your urban gardening system.
The working of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is simple. It works in dual ways.
The sharp needle like elements of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) gets stick between the exoskeleton of the pests in your kitchen garden. After sticking, they start to fracture and cuts the body of the pest as it moves on the ground.
On the other hand, the pests like slugs and snails are also afraid of Diatomaceous Earth (DE). How? They have very sensitive waxy skin. When their body gets in contact with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), it cuts the body and makes them dehydrate by losing body water and eventually, the pest dies. Hence the dream to control pest in kitchen garden becomes reality.
Where to Get Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?
Western United States of America has large deposits of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) in the territories where there were once lakes millions of years ago. However, you don’t need to visit these places to get it. For your kitchen garden, it is easily available in many online websites and some seed stores. One thing should be kept in mind that whenever you buy Diatomaceous Earth (DE), ask for ‘food grade’ version of it rather ‘pool filter’ version for your urban gardening system. This is because the one use in swimming pool filters is not effective against pests.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?
The use of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) in your kitchen garden is so simple, easy and safe that your 10 year old kid can apply it with no harm. Just sprinkle it around the stem of your plant or even you can dust it on the leaves in case of veggies like sugar beet, beet roots and potatoes where there is greater risk of beetle larvae. However, it should be noted that in case of urban gardening in cities, it should be applied when it is perfectly in dry form around 10:00 hours in the morning. Its effectiveness losses as it get wet. This means, you have to reapply it if your kitchen garden encounters rain.
Is Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is Safe to Use?
Last but not the least, I know this is what is revolving in your mind that whether using Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is safe to control pest in kitchen garden? For this, I say a big yes. Why? because we have been consuming Diatomaceous Earth (DE) unconsciously for so many years. The grain stores use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to protect grains from pests and we ingest it in the shape of our food. It is readily mix in toothpastes also. Thus, it is in-toxic.
However, I will recommend my readers to take precautionary measures while applying it in your kitchen garden. Some people may get irritation in eyes, nose, skin and throat if they get in touch with the powder of Diatomaceous Earth (DE). My advice is to wear a mouth mask and full sleeves while applying Diatomaceous Earth (DE) in your urban gardening system.
Similarly, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) doesn’t harm your soil as it is made of silica. Silica is readily available in sands and in rocks. However, in case of rain, it may get washed. However, it will not harm any human, animal, birds or aquatic life.
As I am big proponent of organic farming, anyone who is facing rough and tough with pests in their kitchen garden and annoyed due to its activities, give a first try to Diatomaceous Earth (DE) instead of chemicals or synthetics in your kitchen garden to control pests. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is considered organic by the Organic Materials Review Institute.
Who Can be Victims of Diatomaceous Earth (DE)?
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a powerful tool to to control pest in kitchen garden like;