After a long warm summer, once the flower season has passed, it’s time to get out there, clear up and get everything ready for the winter. The better you can clean up and prepare the better you will find it for growing next season.
The soil seems to be the healthiest when there is something growing on it or covering it. Many people clear away old plant crop and throw it into their composting process. But, if you can, the left over growth of flowers, plants etc and their roots are best left to rot and decompose into the soil. This will be the best thing for the soil from a nutrient perspective. If you are going to let the remains of this seasons crop rot then you will have less work to do to achieve a better soil!
Once you’ve made the decision to leave it all to rot, you’ll want to cover the area in black plastic sheeting. The purpose of laying down the black plastic sheet to 1: to stop weed growth from taking over and 2) allowing the earth worms to rise to the top of the soil. We want to stop light from shining onto the weeds and promoting growth but we also want to stop the rain from hitting the soil hard and draining away much need nutrients.
There are also some winter plants that could be planted to help with soil replenishing for next season. Mustard is one such plant that will provide a covering and a similar effect to the black plastic covering. Growing the mustard plant though will require warm weather in September and October.
Lastly, you’ll want to introduce some composting into the soil. This would be best if you can use your own compost as you’ll know that there were no chemicals added.