Winterizing the Garden with New Potato Rake (and Video!)

Last weekend, in between rain storms, my husband and I spent hours out in the garden, putting our “garden to bed” for the winter months. (Above: Hi, Haggis McStitch!)

But first, I have to tell you about Paul’s new favorite tool ($38) that he’s been eyeing for quite some time now. My husband is very frugal when it comes to gardening–reusing, recycling, and buying most tools from yard sales–so breaking down and buying this was a stretch for him.

We now have a “potato rake.”

And, what’s this video today on RE?

I really don’t see myself as a “video-girl” so let me know what you think! :) It could be fun for future gardening posts to add in a short video to my posts. (Yes, no?)

The purpose of our new potato rake is to not puncture the potatoes. Brilliant!

You use it to loosen the soil.

We harvested our potatoes.

And our sweet potatoes. Which, by the way, are rarely perfect in shape. They often come out of the ground like a horror-movie figures. But they are still delicious!

Oh, and there’s Haggis again, our Cairn Terrier, who sometimes thinks he’s a cat and walks the fence line. We had neighbors once who thought he was a big fury (ugly) cat. How dare them! :)

Our neighbors: We think we have your dog. At first we thought it was an ugly cat. :)

But we love our little fury guy. :)

Now’s the time to work the compost into the soil, too, if you have it, because the soil is so workable.

And straw. We always use straw, but it’s 2-year old straw. You never want to use fresh straw or hay in your garden beds, because the seeds will sprout. You need to let it sit first, for 24 months, so the sprouting begins and ends. The straw we used here has been sitting here for a couple of years.

How to winterize garden beds
1. Clear the top (pull out the garden plants, get rid of weeds).
2. Sprinkle Cover Crop over the beds (we used Gardenway) that don’t have any root crop in them (like potatoes, asparagus).

What exactly is Cover Crop?
It’s a bag of mixed seeds with nitrogen, and it builds tilth and organic matter for better garden harvesting. It suppresses weeds during the off season (winter months). You use it wherever you want to enrich your soil, planting it in the fall, and then tilling it up in the spring. (On these beds, you don’t want to use straw. We used straw in the beds that still had potatoes in them.)

How to use Cover Crop on your garden beds
1. Harvest all vegetables.
2. Get the weeds out, rake the beds.
3. Sprinkle lightly with Cover Crop; slightly rake over the top.
4. Water (or count on the rain to water the beds).

We leave our lights up year round. Nothing better than looking out and seeing them glowing over the beds during cold winter months–and knowing the garden is resting. (We bought our lights at Pottery Barn about 5 years ago, if you can believe that. They’ve stood the test of time!)

Awww, it’s nice to have fresh raked beds, ready for their long winter nap.

Have you winterized your garden yet? Or, please share any tips you have for winterizing your garden!?

(We love sharing garden tips with you, from Oregon, but head on over to the Old Farmer’s Almanac and read their suggestions on Putting the Garden to Bed. Martha talks about preparing the farm for the “dead of winter,” here.)

7 comments on “Winterizing the Garden with New Potato Rake (and Video!)”

  1. Sorry, but Haggis does sort of look like a cat. I won’t go as far as calling him ugly! Never insult some ones 4 legged child. Hehe.

  2. Oh Sandy!

    I haven’t had the luxury of reading your blog as much as I would like to. :-( But I am so happy today to have a few minutes to catch up with your blog! It is just so wonderful!!!

    And hearing your sweet voice on the video was so nice. :-)

    Paul is so hardworking. Your garden has just been fantastic this year. Those potatoes look amazing. I have to go back and read the posts I have missed on all your gardening tips. :-)


  3. I so wish I had your gardening skills. Unfortunately, I have a black thumb. LOVE the pics of the potatoes. Can’t wait to see what you do with them!

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  5. Looks great Sandy. I’m trying something new this fall/next year. I was watching a film called Back to Eden and the gentleman’s philosophy of gardening is great. So I’ve tilled under my garden which had gotten out of hand and had not produced like I would have liked not to mention the deer helping themselves. I’m in the process (whenever the weather cooperates) of putting down thick layers of newspaper and then covering it with wood chips. Once or twice a year I’ll add more chippings to this (lawn, tree debris that has been put through a chipper…we don’t own one and I thankfully had a friend give me two loads and I put a call in to have some delivered when they are doing tree trimming in the area)..I’m hoping this will be very beneficial in the long run.

  6. My daughter has always been asking me to start a garden. Love your garden beds idea! I’ll have to give it a try and grow some veggies. Love your dog, by the way! :)

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