The harvest is over but the work for the year isn’t. The best gardeners know that fall is the perfect time to get your garden ready for next year’s crop. It’s not only prudent, it also gives you a great opportunity to spend some time outside enjoying the fall air and getting some relief from the heat and humidity of winter.
Here are some ways to get your garden ready this fall for next year’s crop.
Clear Dead Leaves
Your lawn is likely going to be covered in the beautiful problem of dead leaves. That’s not good for your grass and thus not good for your garden, so as much as you might not like the idea of doing yard work after a hot summer of mowing your lawn, you’re going to need to get all those leaves raked up and bagged for the dump or the incinerator.
Clean Out The Beds
Cleaning out your beds regularly is especially important for people who are growing vegetables in their gardens. Pests love to feast on the debris leftover from last year’s harvest, so you need to dig down and get absolutely everything you can out that’s not soil. That will save you a lot of work next year when it comes to pest control.
Pull Those Weeds
Due to the decline in temperatures, fall is the perfect time to pull the weeds. Weeds aren’t just an eyesore, they’re choking the nitrogen out of your soil meaning that your plants, be they edible or otherwise, aren’t growing as lushly as they ought to be. So take advantage of the cooler weather and dig those weeds out.
Save Those Seeds!
If you’re a seed saver now is the time to dig out the annuals and have your “second harvest” of seeds. Dry them, label them and put them in a safe place for next year. This is the whole fun about growing annuals – buy once, grow forever!
Throw Down Some Compost
You might think you don’t need to take care of your soil during the colder months, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, this is when your soil is in the most dire need of nutrients. The sun is gone and so are most of the critters that keep it healthy. So a thick layer of compost, about 2-3 inches, is going to help maintain the health of your soil during the cold season. Don’t bother tilling – mother nature will do that for you.
Few things about gardening are most frustrating than having absolutely no idea where all your gear is. So clean everything up and spend an afternoon in the shed making sure there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place.
Plant Your Winter Crops and Cover Crops
Especially if you have a greenhouse, it’s essential to be growing all year round. Other crops will grow better if you have cover – including during seasons when other stuff wouldn’t normally grow. Cover crops and winter crops get you thinking about your garden as a year-long project, not just something for the warmer months. That’s important, especially if you’re growing as a supplementary or primary food source.
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