Anyone who is interested in organic gardening in NJ should consider the benefits of digging and prepping (or refreshing) the garden beds during fall.
This makes sense for several reasons:
It’s easier to dig garden beds in the fall. In early spring, the ground is slowly thawing out of undiggable, frozen conditions. In autumn, the soil is dry, loose, and easy to turn over. If you do it yourself, you may just avoid a back ache by tackling the task in autumn. If you outsource your garden bed prep, then the job will take far less time for your gardener to complete.
Freshly composted soil requires several months to become plant food. Compost your garden beds in fall to get a head-start on producing rich, lush, healthy veggies and herbs come spring time. Source: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/fall-soil-preparation)
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort later. People who want a prolific vegetable garden as early as possible have a lot of spring gardening labor ahead of them. This includes planning the garden and considering things like crop rotation; selecting interesting varieties of seeds and plants; tending to the seeds, especially if you grow them indoors; weeding, watering, and fertilizing. Why add labor-intensive garden-bed digging when you can execute this step well in advance of the spring season?
Fall garden bed prep can cut down on the amount of weeds. Before you add compost, dig out weeds at the roots and dispose of them properly. Then, use a shovel or pitchfork to turn over, aerate, and augment the soil with organic matter. You can even cover your garden beds with straw, or plant a ground cover crop that will further feed the soil and benefit your young veggie plants next spring.
Fall garden bed prep can reduce soil-borne disease. Blight, fungi and viruses all lay dormant in your garden soil all winter, to emerge again when the weather turns warm. In autumn, take some time to remove spent plants. Dispose of fallen produce such as tomatoes, that are now rotting in your garden beds. This, along with proper composting, will ensure that your garden soil is of the highest quality possible for producing beautiful, vitamin-rich, healthy vegetables next spring!