Every year I make this statement and every year I mean it more and more, I LOVE FALL. I love the change in weather, the cooling off, the getting cozy, the colors, the smells, the crispness, the promise of the holidays. I feel like I can breath. The shorter days are challenging, but for me the trade off is worth it.
This year my garden grew big, bushy and tall but didn't produce much in the way of vegetables, nothing like in years past. So while I always add new soil and compost and fertilizers before I plant in the spring, this year I thought that instead of having a winter garden (which kind of breaks my heart) that I would give my garden soil some much needed attention. I rejuvenated the soil (read: our yard smelled a little like manure for a day or two) and then I planted a cover crop. The cover crop instead of just taking nutrients from the soil also gives back. In so many ways. First it protects the soil from the winter elements, keeping it from being beaten and washed of its nutrients by rain, hardened and dried out by the sun, etc. Its roots keep the soil aerated. The crop puts nutrients back into the soil at the same time that it uses the soils nutrients to grow. Once it gets to a certain stage I will chop and mix the crop back into the soil enriching it with all that compost plant material goodness. My hope is for some really great soil to start off next springs garden!