Winter is coming weather we like it or not. We all hate thinking about that time of year – especially right now when the fall weather has turned beautiful here in Ontario.  Don’t think about the cold months ahead, instead stay positive and think of next spring and summer’s garden.What you do now and in the coming months can make a huge difference in the success of next year’s garden.  Here are four things you can do now to really jump-start your 2018 garden.

1.  DON’T COMPOST YOUR TOMATO AND PEPPER PLANTS

Although contrary to what we normally do – which is compost everything we can – don’t compost our pepper and tomato plants from the garden.   Why?  Just too much chance for any plant disease to get passed through to the soil for next year.  In addition – the odd green or damaged fruit still on the plants, along with their thousand of seeds, are better kept away from the compost pile.

2.  CLEAN OUT THE WEEDS 

Don’t leave those weeds in your garden over winter.  Clean them out now and prevent them from going to seed, digging deeper roots – and doubling in size.

3.  ADD ORGANIC MATTER NOW

Chopped leaves and compost are the stars here.  Dig in generous amounts of compost to your raised beds or garden.  Start collecting those falling leaves now!  If you don’t have access to your own – make a trip around local neighborhoods and collect the bags or piles of leaves that accumulate at the curb. Dig in generous amounts to decompose.  Even better, use the leaves as a mulch on your beds over the winter – helping to keep valuable soil from eroding.  Just dig into the bed’s soil in the spring.

All three of these steps are great ways to ensure a healthy, productive garden next year, and without having to use harsh chemicals and fertilizers.