A friend interested in creating his own Victory Garden recently asked me when’s the best time to start a new plot. Without a doubt, it’s autumn. Most people get motivated to plant as the last of the snow is melting from the driveway, and while spring gardens often succeed just fine, the best – and least labor intensive – time to start a garden is in the fall. Once your plan is in hand, and you’ve chosen your site, stake our the area with stakes and string. Then, take the leaves that have accumulated in your yard (or borrow some from your neighbors), and place a heavy 6-8” blanket directly over the area to be gardened – even if its currently lawn. Afterward, cover with a tarp, or enclose with boards to prevent the leaves from straying all over the yard, and sit back and relax while mother nature enriches the soil for you. Over the course of the autumn and winter, the leaves will decay and be consumed by worms, in effect removing any sod and tilling the soil without any work by you. Come spring, your plot will need an initial rototilling or hand digging to lighten the soil, but nothing close to the backbreaking labor – and expense – of removing the sod and amending the soil you’d face if you started the garden in spring.