Although there are a lot of flowers and vegetables available for Fall planting, most of the jobs to do in your garden involve some sort of clean up from this year and preparation for next year. The more of these jobs that you can complete in the fall will make it that much easier to plant in the Spring. You’ll also have less problems with bugs and vermin because there will be less to attract them.
First, have a look around your yard and make any repairs necessary. Check fences, pathways, irrigation systems, your deck, barbecue, steps, etc. These are jobs that should be completed first as they are the ones that are most important to your safety. Make sure nails are flush with the surface, boards aren’t loose, fence boards are secured. Clean your barbecue so that when you are ready to use it next spring, all it will take is a light cleaning. If your irrigation system leaks, fix it. Also, set the timers to your winter schedule, which may be off until spring.
Next, if you have a compost bin, or want to build one, now is a good time to start it, or turn the one you have. Just use a rake, shovel or pitchfork to mix up the leaves and other items in the bin. A compost bin is easy to build, and will provide you with an endless supply of compost. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; there are many plans available online, or you can buy a kit to build one.
Start cleaning your yard by removing the dead plants and produce from your vegetable garden. Place it in your compost bin or trash. Then move on to your decorative flower beds and other areas of the yard. Clean anything that has fallen, and remove dead leaves or branches. Dead leaves, past their prime veggies, and branches are the perfect hiding places for vermin and bugs; removing these eliminates their new digs.
Now is the perfect time to clean up your trees – remove any dead branches, or ones that are too close to your house. All it takes is one good gust of wind to drop a branch through a window or roof. If there are branches that are too big or too high for you to comfortably tackle, call a local company to remove them.
Make sure that new plantings, either in-ground or containers, are well fertilized. Newly planted gardens and trees will produce roots all winter; they need the nutrients now in order to be full of life in the spring. Container plants have a limited amount of soil; they need the added nutrients regularly to grow.
If you have raised beds, refresh the soil with a thick layer of compost, manure, and mulch. By Spring, it will have evolved into great planting soil for your vegetable garden.
Plant some Fall color in containers or your garden. Mums, herbs, fall veggies; there is a wide variety of plants to grow for fall. Make up some colorful pots of mums to set by your front entry, and combine them with some savory rosemary or other herbs for a great companion planting.
Although the list looks long, most jobs can be completed in two or three weekends. The time you spend now will save hours or days in the spring, when the weather warms up.