BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

How to Prepare Your Garden For Fall

Photo: Amy Thewamy

Summer sunshine can turn to cool autumn weather faster than you think. You’ll want to start preparing your garden for the season change at least six weeks before to fully prepare.

What you do now will help ensure you have a green backyard and fruitful garden in the spring and summer months to follow.

Quick Fall Gardening Tips

1. Tidy up
Take care of your landscape. Now is a good time to get rid of unsightly debris, grass clippings and dry foliage. Chip fallen branches as mulch. Removing this material will also help prevent bugs from nesting in there over the winter and giving you problems later on.

Use as much of your compost as you can by spreading it on your garden plot. You’re about to have a whole lot of fallen leaves to add to your compost for the spring, so best to make room now.

2. Protect and beautify your turf
Consider laying down a hardy annual ryegrass or planting ornamental grasses and perennials that can make your garden stand out even in the winter. Bring your plant containers inside. Some containers don’t stand up well to colder temperature extremes. Put them in your garage or basement in the meantime. Tropical plants can often thrive indoors, so bring them inside before the cooler weather hits.

3. Start planting
Instead of “closing down” your garden for the winter, consider planting trees, shrubs, perennials, winter annuals, bulbs and cooler-season vegetables like lettuce, carrots or broccoli that don’t require as much sunlight overall. These plants can add color and life to your carden.

4. Make notes about your garden for next year
What worked in your garden this time? Which perennials did well? Which ones were overwhelmed by pests or other problems? The better your notes, the better your planning will be for next year.

Gardening tools need love, too

Your garden tools need maintenance. Give a light coat of oil to metal tools like shears to avoid rust (be careful of sharp edges!). Think about where you’ll be storing chemicals or pesticides – some have a limited shelf life and can be affected by the cold. And don’t forget to drain and coil the garden hose! If it freezes up with the water still inside, it could leak next time.

Gardening for all seasons

Gardening is a labor of love that takes patience, care and year-round maintenance. The effort you put into your garden preparing for the fall is going to pay off when the warm growing season returns.

Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.

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