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Cleaning Your Garden This Autumn

prepping your gardenAt the first sign of frost in the forecast, we harvest everything, eat what we can, and preserve what we can't by canning, freezing, and dehydrating.  

The next step is cleaning the garden.  

First of all, there are a few crops that you don't need to harvest before the first frost.  Carrots, garlic, leeks, and parsnips are a few things that can be harvested through early winter.  Cover them with a little extra mulch to keep the ground warmer, and harvest through December.  

Next, remove all weeds, dead vines, leaves, and other debris.  If they're not diseased, throw them in your compost.  Gently till your soil to expose insects that might overwinter.  After that, add some compost and leaves and till into the soil.  

Don't accidentally pull out your perennials.  We've done this before!  Thyme, rosemary, and mint are a few perennial herbs.  Depending on your zone, some might need to be covered.  Find your plant hardiness zone here.  Prune your raspberries and cover your strawberry patches. Once the ground is frozen solid, cut all of your perennials down to about three inches and then put mulch on top.  

Continue to mow your lawn as needed.  If your grass gets too long and snow falls on top of it, you can end up with brown patches all over your lawn.  Stay on top of raking leaves and use those as mulch or compost.  

After your garden is ready, it's time to take care of odds and ends.  Empty your containers so they don't crack, put away your rakes so they don't get damaged by the elements, and clean up everything else.