Earlier this week, master gardener Gretchen Anderson once again joined the City Cast Boise podcast to impart her plant wisdom. Throughout the year, she’s advised our early planting, answered a round of audience questions, and given us late summer tips.
But now, when winter is on its way and you might not be thinking about your garden anymore, she tells us why this is actually the perfect time to set yourself up for spring success.
Listen to that conversation, or read on for her main takeaways.
1. Bring in all the produce.
Leaving any vegetables and fruits in or on the ground is a gift basket for creatures you don’t want.
“Each type of fruit or vegetable has its own host of pests and critters that it attracts. And if you leave them in the ground, those pests and critters can overwinter in that fruit. They have stuff to eat, they can live there, and then they come back with a vengeance in the springtime.”
So pull the old tomatoes and pick up the apples — especially if you’re in Eagle and don’t want rats, which is apparently a problem there.
2. Don’t wait til spring to till!
“Mulching” your garden beds before winter will save you a lot of time in the spring, but more importantly it gives all the organic matter a chance to settle and mature into more fertile soil over the winter.
If Gretchen has to till the soil at all, she does it now, then layers mulch or compost (or just fall leaves) over the top of the beds. And for the folks who always till in the spring, she says it’s best to do it now.
“What you’re doing is you’re disturbing those microorganisms that have set up over the winter, and really you don’t want to do that.”
3. Get your soil tested.
Gretchen is part of the University of Idaho’s Master Gardeners extension program. Through that program, you can reach out to your county’s office and have your soil tested.
“If you get your soil tested, trust me — having it done professionally is money well spent rather than wasting your money on those little soil kits.”
Soil in our area tends to have a lot of alkaline, so testing yours can help you know if you need to correct something now.
Gretchen has much more advice in the full episode, including crop rotation, how much to water your trees, and what to do with your leftover green tomatoes. 🍷