How to Transition Your Garden for the Fall

Summer is on its way out and days are starting to get cooler. For gardeners, whether you’re still a novice, a seasoned cultivator, or a casual hobbyist, this means it’s time to prepare your garden for the fall. Not only is maintaining a healthy and well-kept fall garden important for growers living in seasonal climates, it’s also a must for those located in consistently temperate areas as well. Taking the proper transitional steps simply ensures that your garden will be in good shape for the fall — and even for next spring and summer. Here are some useful tips for making the most out of your lawn before the summer season ends and fall begins. 

Do Some Clean Up

Take a look around your garden bed and check to see if you need to remove any spent plants, recycle unneeded debris, or clip down perennials as they start becoming dormant. Not only will clearing out the additional stuff help keep the soil in your garden healthy, it will also improve its aesthetic appeal. Remember not to fully remove perennials. These plants will come back once spring comes around, so it’s important to salvage the root and take care of them the right way. You should keep an eye out for diseased plants in your garden. Completely remove and separate these from other plant beds to avoid further contamination. Collecting extra debris from your lawn can also yield further benefits, especially when you begin creating a compost pile. 

Start Layering Your Compost

Once you’re finished cleaning up, you can pay more attention to compost. A great pile of compost consists of decomposed organic material such as leaves, spent plants, debris, shredded twigs, and kitchen scraps from plants. Mix everything up and turn the pile over. This makes for prime organic fertilizer and it’s wonderful for recycling your plants. Make sure your compost contains both old and new remnants. You’ll know you’re on the right track when it’s a brownish color. If you want to continue growing for the upcoming season, layering a clean garden with compost can assist with harvesting and also help layer and shield the soil for the colder months. 

Remove Faded or Dead Flower Heads

This method is called “deadheading” and it’s something you should be doing regularly if you own a garden. Removing blooms that may have withered and died is essential when it comes to grooming your lawn because it makes future plants grow more rigorously. This step can often make or break your garden, so be meticulous as you go through your lawn. Autumn is usually the last season for deadheading, so make sure it counts! 

Get Those Container Plants Ready 

Although summer plants can’t make it in your garden for the fall, you can still transfer them into plant-ready containers. If you’re especially tied to a particular plant and unwilling to part ways with it until the spring, try exploring ways you can maintain it indoors. Many people aren’t aware, but fall is actually the best season for growing container plants.

Harvest and Cook Ripe Summer Plants

You’ve worked hard all spring and summer, and now that the cold weather is about to set in, it’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor -- literally. As the summer winds down, several plants from your garden will suddenly ripen, sometimes leaving you with an exorbitant amount of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Prepare some recipes beforehand, start collecting your harvest, and make sure these ripe plants don’t go to waste. 

Start Growing Fall Vegetables

After you’ve done everything above, your garden is pretty much ready for another season of planting. For those gardeners who don’t want to stop growing, there are several plants --  specifically leafy greens like arugula, kale, spinach, and lettuce -- that can quickly grow and mature in cooler weather. You can even start a thriving vegetable garden from fast-growing, late-summer plants such as carrots, cucumbers, beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. You can enjoy all of these vegetables almost immediately.

Plant Spring Bulbs

You might think it’s too early to start planting for the spring, but fall is actually the best time to prepare. Since most bulbs require a pre-chilling period before they can properly bloom, planting these little guys now will save you a lot of time and trouble once spring rolls around. The ideal time for planting bulbs is at least six weeks prior to your area’s frost date.

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