There's an adage that has been going around the organic gardening culture for years. Feed the soil and you'll have healthy soil and you have healthy plants, if you eat the healthy plants, you'll be healthy too. It's been long known that the freshest vegetables are the most nutritious and the freshest vegetables come straight from the garden which has healthy soil
Things You Will Needcompost pile or bin
Step 1The best time to begin feeding your soil is in the Autumn because this gives the microbes in the soil some time to digest the nutrients in the materials you add so they are available to your plants in the spring. After your garden season is finished, remove all the dead vegetable and flower plants from the garden and put into compost pile. I've never worried about diseased plants. I've put them all into the compost pile and the resulting soil has had no ill effects. Apply green materials such as grass clippings (Pesticide -free only please), manure (I know it's brown in color but it's considered green) and household garbage(no meat, grease or milk products) in a one inch layer on top of the garden soil and roughly plow under. At this point I like to allow my chickens in the garden where they dispose of unwanted bugs that may have decided to over-winter in the garden. I then put a layer of mulch over my garden bed and all I have to do now is wait for spring when I will rake aside the mulch to allow the soil to warm in the spring sunshine for a few days before planting the bed.
Step 2If you're planning to use a garden bed after the last frost in the spring, you can use another method of feeding the soil. This is called green manuring. To green manure your garden, again, clean the spent garden plants from your garden and add compost to your garden. Till the soil enough to prepare a bed and sow winter wheat, winter rye or if you're going to be planting corn, better to plant a legume like Austrian Peas or clover to add nitrogen to the soil. Keep soil watered on the surface until the plants are up them make sure the soil receives at least one inch of water via rain or hose a week until plants stop growing. In the spring two weeks before planting, till until the green manure and two weeks later your soil will be ready to plant.
Step 3Autumn is an excellent time to build up your reserves of compost. Use all the leaves you can get your hands on and shred them using the lawnmower. Mix in with any compost you have remaining from your previous compost bin. Add any available grass clippings, manure and household garbage (no meat, grease or milk products please). Also mix in a few handfuls of kelp into the mix to add trace elements. Start a second pile if possible to work on adding to during the winter.
By feeding your garden in the Autumn, you will increase your chances for a bumper crop of flowers and vegetables next spring.