First time gardener here. This year I decided to grow some tomatillos and mexican chillies in my garden. Although it was some hard work I also had a good harvest (for my first time) and fun overall. Now winter is coming and my plants are dying. I already knew that this type of plants can't stand cold weather, so I knew this day would come. Last year we were around 2-5 degrees C during winter everyday (but no frost) and under 10 C until about April, I expect this year will be the same. My question now is, what do I do with my plants?

They have lost a lot of leaves, but they actually don't look that bad (to my untrained eye). Should I just cut down whatever is remaining of them and take them to composting somewhere? I feel kinda bad because they still look alive.

Next year I want to plant again, but cut down in numbers. This year I had 10 tomatillos plants, and about 20 chilli plants. I didn't think all of them would surive (first time gardening) so I planted a lot. It turns out they did all survive!. I don't have as much time anymore to take care of them and I am frequently out of town. Next year I think I only want to keep 3+6 plants maybe. Also, I'm not really wanting to get into composting. I'm ok with taking them somewhere, or have them collected, for someone else to compost.

Also, although I do have an actual garden, I used growbags for all of my plants. What do I do with the soil? If I cut down the plants, is it ok to just spread it around the garden? We are talking about 21 growbags that can fit 3 plants each, so that's a lot of soil, I think. I don't suppose it's healthy to reuse that for next year, right?

Sorry about the long post. In summary: what do I do with my plants (and soil) now that winter is coming and they are dying? Pics attached in summer and today for reference

Many thanks!

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1 Answer 1


Looks very professional, especially since you say you are a first-time gardener.

If you don't expect anymore harvest (no flowers, no fruits anymore), you can get rid of the plants. They are indeed suitable for composting, if you know anyone that wants it for their compost, it will be a good source of 'greens'. You can also let the plants die, after the winter the plants won't be green anymore, but turned yellow/brown. Best thing for you to choose is when you want to spend time for this (now or after winter)?

I wouldn't reuse the soil, but buy new soil for next year. I would throw it away, but you can also spread it around in your garden (but it doesn't fertilize it, it will just make your garden higher).

  • 1
    Agree, but would add that grow bags usually have a relatively high peat content, and thus are quite a good addition to soil as an amendment, even if they don't raise the fertility directly through fertilizer.
    – Bamboo
    Nov 13, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    The old soil will fertilize the garden. Every plant has specific requirements, and usually plants doesn't use all fertilizers inside the soil. In the specific case, just doesn't put where you will grow tomatoes or other Solanaceae (the family of tomatoes). Other plants will use the left overs. It will be similar to crop rotation, but rotating the soil. Nov 14, 2017 at 9:50
  • Good points, from both. Thanks for additional info.
    – benn
    Nov 14, 2017 at 9:56
  • Ok, thanks for your recommendations. I will do that then, cut the plants and spread the soil around.
    – gmedina-v
    Nov 15, 2017 at 18:36

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