I shouldn’t show this photo! I didn’t clean up my vegetable garden last fall. The bean poles and netting are still up. Dead pepper, tomato, basil and flower plants are still standing. Tree leaves that fell into the garden and piled up are still there.
In some cases, there is a benefit to leaving plant matter where it is in the fall. Insects and small animals overwinter there. We have a serious decline in many native insects, including important pollinators like small bumble bees. If you have native gardens its beneficial to leave fall plant matter in place.
But not in a vegetable. I should have cleaned up to I remove places where pests overwinter. Last year I had cabbage worms, squash vine borer, and flea beetles. These pests are no doubt overwintering in my garden debris.
I’ll plan to get into my garden on one of these warm February days we have coming up with a rake and wheelbarrow. Maybe the saying “better late than never” will apply.