UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Monthly Tip

Winter Soil Health

Tip description
Straw mulch in vegetable garden, by Jack Kelly Clark, UC
Straw mulch in vegetable garden, by Jack Kelly Clark, UC
Areas of the garden that are not actively planted still need protection to support soil life and prevent soil erosion. Cover crops are one option. Their roots break up the soil, and if they are legumes, like fava beans, they add essential nitrogen. Mulches hold in moisture, moderate soil temperature, and help prevent weeds from germinating. Unlike rocks and synthetic mulches, organic mulches like leaves, wood chips, or straw also slowly break down, beneficial soil organisms, and add nutrients to the soil. A top layer of an inch or two of compost will slowly work down into the soil, amending it with organic matter. Manure from herbivores can also be spread over the top of the soil. Even fresh manure, which could burn plants if applied directly, can be used over a bare area to decompose in place and be ready for the next planting season.
 
More Information: Keep Your Soil Healthy
 
Months applicable
  • October
  • November
Category
  • 1. To-do

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