By now, summer crops have all come out of the edible garden. Seeds have been saved from the annual vegetables and herbs, compost piles have been built, and cover crops, winter vegetables and garlic are being planted or are already in the ground. Garden beds are being mulched with straw and leaves to retain moisture, block weeds and insulate the soil and wood chips are being spread on garden paths to prevent erosion.
Fruit trees are losing their leaves, reminding us that they will need to be pruned, weeded, mulched, and fed again this winter.
In between the first few storms of late fall, we cultivate the soil, opening it up to breathe one last time before the shorter days of winter.
During this transitional time in the seasons, we invite you to use Grow Your Lunch’s very first tutorial video, “Cultivating The Ground,” which demonstrates the first of 10 Essential Gardening Practices. Learning how to cultivate the soil just enough and not too much is a valuable gardening skill that will serve you for years. So what exactly is cultivating? And why do we do it? Here’s an excerpt from Chapter I of our founder Benjamin’s Edible Gardening handbook, which we hope you will download and use to follow along with the video:
As we approach Thanksgiving, and cultivate our gardens for the last time this year, let’s remember to give thanks to the soil. And let’s not forget that healthy soils grow healthy plants which grow healthy humans! In fact, not only does soil provide food for us, it also provides us with building materials, fiber for clothes, filtration of our fresh waters, fuel for our transportation, even raw materials for electronic devices like the one you are using to read this article! Carbon can also be taken from the air and stored in soil through natural processes as well as responsible agricultural practices. Learn more about soil and carbon sequestration from the the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Grow your soil, fix some carbon, and combat climate change today!
More Fall Gardening Articles from Grow Your Lunch:
World Soil Day: 2015 has been named the “International Year of Soils” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. December 4th is World Soil Day. Watch and share the quick videos “Better Save Soil” and “Support World Soil Day” to learn more and join the conversation!
All illustrations Copyright Elizabeth Eichorn 2015