Both vegetables and flower gardens will be much more productive next year with the addition of organic soil amendments this fall. The idea behind organic amendments is to improve soil structure so that plant roots get more of the air, water and nutrients they need for healthy growth. Before amendments can be made, however, it’s necessary to clear planting beds of any unwanted items.


Cleaning Up

Spent vegetable plants and annuals should be removed and added to the compost pile (if you have one). Leaves, sticks and other organic debris should also be removes (and composted).


Since perennials will come back next year, they can stay put. But if they’re due for dividing, this is the time for it. By dividing spring- and summer- blooming perennials every three to five years in the fall, plant size can be controlled and the number of perennials can be increased. Periodic division will rejuvenate perennials as well.


Adding the Amendments

There are several types of organic amendments that can improve soil structure for better vegetables and flower growth. Sphagnum peat moss, finished homemade compost and well-aged cow manure are all good choices.


The best way to incorporate organic amendments is to spread out 3” to 4” over the entire planting area, then till it into the top 8” to 10” of soil. In perennial beds, it will be necessary to work around the existing plants, but the same amount of amendments should be used.


Right now it’s a great time for organic amendments, since soil tends to be drier and easier to work with at this time of year. Whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers or both, it will be well worth the extra effort.