Winter Garden Prep – “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

By:  Stephanie Karhoff OSU Extension

Lower your chances of disease and pests next spring by taking these three steps this fall:

Removed diseased plants and weeds from garden. Clean up your garden and remove any weeds or diseased plants that can provide refuge to overwintering pathogens or insect eggs that can cause havoc on your garden next spring. Consider leaving a strip of perennials or flowers for beneficial insects to make a home in this winter. Rather than leaving your garden completely bare, you can apply a layer of compost, straw mulch, or plant a winter hardy cover crop like cereal rye or wheat.

Remove and discard weeds and diseased plants from your garden. S. Karhoff, personal photo


Record a map of your garden. While your memory is still fresh, create a map of your garden from this growing season. By doing so, you will be able to avoid planting annuals of the same family in the same location next year. Rotating your vegetable crops will help reduce insect and disease pressure. Also take note of any disease or insects observed this past season, so you can select resistant varieties next spring if possible.

Clean garden tools and seeding trays. As you store away your gardening supplies for winter, do not forget to clean and sanitize them to reduce chance of disease next year. Simply rinse tools and trays to remove debris; wash surface with detergent and water; and sanitize with a mixture of 2 teaspoons of household bleach (5.26-6% sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water.

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