published Saturday, August 28th, 2010

5 tips for preparing your garden for fall

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    McClatchy Newspapers A cool-season harvest offers the chance to grow and enjoy all sorts of healthy greens.

Now that your tomato plants have started to fade, it’s time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for fall.

Arnold Stulce Sr. has a large garden at his home in Soddy-Daisy, where he grows a variety of vegetables. But before he can plant his fall crops — cabbage, broccoli, turnips, beets, curly kale, spinach and collards — there are a few tasks he must accomplish to put his summer garden to rest.

Here are his five top transitional tips.

1 Till the soil. Take out all the large old plants and turn the soil over well. Smaller plants ready for their demise may be tilled into the soil.

2 Test your soil. You can take it to the Agriculture Extension Office on Bonny Oaks Drive for testing (call 855-6113 for instructions). If it’s too acidic, you’ll need to add lime to the soil.

3 Weed out weeds. Weeding never ends — even in winter. So pull any small weeds so they don’t have a chance to develop deep roots.

4 Fertilize. If you have compost, till that into the soil. If you don’t have compost, manure is fine. Earthworms are another good soil additive.

5 Mulch the plants with straw. Hay will spread grass seed. Straw is better. Don’t use pine needles because of their acidity.

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