Hello Garden Friends!
Fall is a perfect time to clean up your garden. Having a garden clean-up day in the fall is a great way to improve the health of your soil, shorten your spring task list, and leave your garden plot looking great. Here are some things you can consider doing before the snow falls.
Remove stakes, tomato cages, plant tags, etc. Store them for the winter.
Remove any plastic from your beds (e.g. weed barriers, etc), unless you have a permanent bed of perennials on which you’ve used a multi-year landscaping cloth and mulch.
Remove annuals and prune perennials. I personally like to cut annual plants off at the soil line to let the roots decay and add organic matter to the soil; you can also pull them up. Compost all non-diseased plants and weeds.
Remove and compost any crop that has fallen or frozen (tomatoes, for example).
“Deadhead” flowers and herbs that you don’t want to re-seed.
Harvest any remaining vegetables that you don’t intend to over-winter. Bring in green tomatoes to ripen.
Bring in potted plants if you intend to over-winter them. Re-pot if necessary (if they’ve outgrown their container).
Don’t leave your soil bare! Cover your garden beds with a mulch of straw or leaves, unless you have a cover crop going. This is also a good time to amend with compost and/or manure.
Drain and store garden hoses. Clean and store garden tools out of the weather. Consider sharpening blades of hoes and shovels. Ensure seeds and amendments are stored properly.
For me, the end of the growing season is always a mix of sadness to say goodbye, and gratefulness for the season’s abundance and a chance to rest. Fall and winter is also a great time to plan for next year’s garden, so if the days get dark and you’re feeling down, take some time to dig into the new spring seed catalogs and plan things out for another great season of growing!
Most importantly, remember all the fun and learning you had over the season!
Enjoy the winter!
Written by: Rachel Brice
Urban Ag & Gardens Coordinator