Prepping for winter

Asked November 9, 2016, 10:25 AM EST

Hi All, Thanks for taking the time to help me.

So, my family and I moved into a new home. it already has a garden with about 5-6 tomato plants, and an underperforming pepper plant. The garden is a small area about 4 feet by 4 feet. It has a black tarp over the ground, with the plants growing in holes in the tarp.

First, I need to start prepping the garden for winter, and Second, I also want to expand the garden. I am not sure how to begin. Can someone help me? I have all these leaves raked from fall and want to use them for manure. I also want to cull some of the tomato plant as their stakes are not strong and the tomatoes are growing all over the place. In addition, I want to add herbs (basil, thyme), and vegetables (onion, garlic, kale (for baby kale), carrots, green peppers). Please help. I have no idea where to start or what to do.

Fairfield County Ohio horticulture winter gardening vegetable gardening

1 Response

Sorry for my delayed response, I had outpatient surgery last week and just now getting back to emails. I suspect by now the tomato and peppers have been frozen so they can be removed from the area...If you want to remove the black plastic you could to that to begin to increase the size of your garden...the best thing to do in the fall would be to rake the leaves on the garden space and mow over them so they can be chopped up and begin to break down over the winter. if you are mowing your grass one more time you could even include some grass clippings. .

You have 2 choices once you remove the black plastic before adding the leaves ...You could loosen or dig up the area as well the area you want to increase your garden space and then incorporate the leaves and shovel some loose dirt on the chopped leaves ...almost like a mini compost pile for the winter. Or do nothing and just add the leaves.

All of the plants you mentioned can't be planted now unless you have a cold frame built to keep your plants protected during the Ohio Winter months...it would be best to work on getting your garden increased to the size you want by working the soil, incorporating your leaves and grass and maybe even consider a soil test which can be done anytime to see what you are starting with. The kales, lettuces and carrotts can be seeded in late March or early April of 2017 once the soil has warmed and it is dry enough to seed..

You might even consider a raised bed garden system if you want to grow herbs in one bed and veggies in another ...or think about growing herbs in a large pot close to you kitchen door where you may have easy access.

Again, sorry for the delay in response.