I am interested in either putting organic material or covering my backyard garden space. What are some good choices to help produce better soil for next spring.
Multnomah County Oregon soil
Thanks for your question about helping your soil over the winter! Here is a link to a wonderful OSU Extension article about adding organic matter, which helps in soil texture and provides 'food' for the many valuable microbes that make our soil healthy and productive. Another way to accomplish similar benefits--and to keep the winter rains from compressing the soil, which drives out air--is to plant a cover crop. Here's a link to another publication that explains how it works, and ideas for some specific plants. If it's too technical for you, this shortened version will give you some ideas. You can also use material such as straw (not hay, which may contain seeds you don't want) to protect the cover crop, and it acts as an organic additive to the soil as it is broken down by soil microbes. You can use any or all of these suggestions in combination, and may want to do one thing in one part of your garden and others in different spaces. Just be sure to cut or till under (be gentle with the soil!) the cover crop before it goes to seed, or you'll get more of it in the spring and summer.
Hope these are helpful. Good luck!