The vegetable garden has been harvest and it is about time to bed it down for another winters nap. This is a time when you can really improve the garden plot and prepare it for next springs plantings. Anyone who has ever grown a vegetable garden will tell you that one of the biggest maintenance tasks involved is weeding. The next big thing is pest control. You can save yourself a lot of problems and work in the spring and throughout the year with proper sanitation in the garden.
Vegetable garden sanitation is a year round maintenance of your garden area. In the fall you need to pull out any weeds that are found. Remove any vegetables that may have fallen on to the ground and were not harvested. These vegetables are all little seed sakes full of future problems unless you rid yourself of them now.If you do not do this crucial step you may find yourself pulling out hundreds of tomato plants next spring. Once your garden is clean then spread several inches of compost on the garden and till this in. Three or four weeks latter till one more time this will disrupt fall germinating weeds.
In the spring get out as early as the ground can be worked. Till your garden and let it rest a bit to absorb some of those early spring rains. After about three weeks till the surface again with a lite tilling to break up the top three or four inches and disrupt any germinating seeds. When you cultivate the soil it keeps weeds from proliferating by disrupting their ability to spread. As you plant the garden out be sure to cultivate the first two or three inches of all area that are not yet planted weekly. The areas where you have planted should receive three to four inches of mulch over the surface to help prevent any weed seeds from germinating.
As you tend the garden remove any diseased plants or fruit that is damaged or attacked by insects. Leaving fruits and vegetables in the garden that are starting to rot is a clear invitation to unwanted pest and disease. If you are pulling out plants that have disease discard them and do not put into the compost pile as this could lead to problems latter on. It is so much easier to spend a few minutes each day inspecting and removing problems then to spend hours each week pulling weeds.
One other part of proper vegetable garden sanitation is crop rotation. It is very important to vary the area in your garden and to rotate where you plant crops each year. Planting the same vegetables in the same area each year is an invitation to trouble. The soil will become depleted of some of the nutrients but more important is that soil borne pests and disease will build up and start to devastate your garden. So be sure to folllow proper vegetable garden sanitation and your gardening will not only be more enjoyable but your harvest much more fruitful,