Extended warm weather with many pleasant days has allowed ample time for garden cleanup. Though several hard freezes have killed warm weather crops, cool weather crops are still producing. If plants have overstayed their useful life, remove them. When cold-hardy cabbage family crops and others are finished, gather and dispose of all debris, preferably to the compost bin. If diseased or severely infested with insects, disposal off the property may be desirable.
One reason for a thorough fall cleanup is to avoid overwintering insects in your garden. For example, aphids overwinter as eggs as can be seen in the photo of kohlrabi, above right. Cabbage aphids (pictured left) and turnip aphids are the prime species found on cabbage family crops. Removing debris heads off an early spring aphid infestations. With some aphids on vegetable crops, it also eliminates the virus diseases that they can carry.
Photo credit: Cabbage aphids closeup (Brevicoryne brassicae) Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, www.insectimages.org ; Aphid infested kohlrabi, Kale and kohlrabi debris, Raking debris – all three Carl Wilson