Go ahead and clean up plant material that is not producing and remove any diseased or insect-infected plant material from your garden. If you leave this plant material in your garden, you are leaving diseases and insects that will begin to reproduce again next spring and add to next year’s pest problem.
Insects, such as cucumber beetles, squash bugs, Colorado potato beetles and European corn borers, can live through the winter in debris left in the garden. At the end of the growing season, remove dead plant material and compost it or plow it under. This will limit your pest population next year to the insects that migrate into the garden.
Now is also a good time to start getting your garden soil ready for next year. Take some time to pull soil samples and have your garden soil tested. We can help you get your soil tested at the Extension Office. The soil sample will advise you on the type and amount of fertilizer needed, plus let you know if you need to add any lime.
This is also a good time of the year to plant a cover crop in your garden spot. Cover crops offer many benefits such as adding organic matter to the soil, loosening the soil with their deep roots, and possibly producing nitrogen for next spring’s crops. Clover, wheat and rye are some of the most common cover crops in this area.
If you have any gardening questions or problems, feel free to call the Walker County Extension Service at 706-638-2548.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.