There are many options you have for winterizing your garden. You do not have to take every step that is recommended here or wherever else you read. But, there is one step that I would say is a definite must and that is remove any diseased plants from your garden and either burn them or throw them away. Do not put them in your compost or feed them to your livestock. If you do not totally destroy these plants, I can guarantee you the disease will wreak havoc in your garden next year!
Here are some frugal tips for helping out your garden this fall and winter.
1. If your garden is fenced in, I recommend putting your animals to work in your garden. Right now we have a couple of Haflinger ponies grazing in our garden along with some free range chickens. I have some tall weeds and ruined veggies that need to be eaten. They do a pretty good job, but not good enough.
To finish cleaning up the garden, we will eventually put a portable pig pen using cattle panels in the garden. The pigs will eat everything that is left. I still have turnips and broccoli growing(horses and chickens do not touch them) so the pigs go in after everything is harvested.
Another added bonus with the pigs is they will till up the garden with their snouts which will not only save time for us, but save gas as we will not need to till the garden under this fall. Plus their manure is much needed in our sandy soil!
Later, a portable chicken tractor with a few hens will be moved around the garden every few days. By spring, our garden should have plenty of nitrogen from the composted manure.
2. Adding leaves is a free added bonus for your garden. Although it isn't high in nitrogen, phosphorous or potassium, it does build the soil with it's organic matter. You can mulch them, but in reality who has the time unless you use your lawn mower to do this for you. Just put a layer of leaves on your garden and till them in come spring.
3. If you need to raise the acidity of your soil, layer it with pine needles and till in or work into the soil now or in the spring.
4. Can't put animals in your garden? This might take a little effort, but pull those big weeds and feed it to your animals.
5. If you do not have a fenced in garden, but have chickens, goats and/or horses, now is the time to clean out the barn and layer your garden with this black gold!
Look around you and use what you have. You are sure to find something that will benefit the garden and it won't cost you a dime, but it will cost you a little effort!