Fall Checklist for Your Garden
Fall is a busy time for gardeners; this is when you need to harvest the remaining vegetation your garden yields and when you need to prepare it for the long winter’s sleep. Fall and winter are also good times to make any needed repairs to your gardening tools and to make plans for your garden next spring.
The first thing to do during fall is to pick any remaining vegetation from your garden, even if it’s not fully ripened. Once the cold weather sets in, the vegetation simply won’t grow any larger and you need to prepare your garden properly. After that’s done, pull any weeds around your plants so the garden is clear.
Many gardeners like to till the soil around their plants during the fall as this allows moisture and oxygen and nutrients to set into the soil before the arrival of winter. You can do this manually with a hoe or rake. Ground cover will help to add nutrients to your soil; you can purchase this at a gardening supply store or home improvement store. Most ground cover is made of rye and other simple materials that are absorbed into the soil and these will help your plants grow full and hearty next year. Some you simply sprinkle on and others you till into the soil so they can be absorbed. Add ground cover according to package directions.
Mulch is also good for the ground in the fall. Once you’ve tilled the soil and added any needed ground cover, you can add mulch. The nutrients will stay in place and mulch will cut down on weed growth during the off-season.
Fall is a good time to also till the ground around your existing garden. The ground is softer during fall and easier to till and you know more readily how much room your current plants will take in your garden. Once you till the new ground, add ground cover and mulch over the new soil to prepare it as well.
Once you’ve prepared your soil for your new garden in the spring, you can then turn your attention to your gardening tools and equipment. This is the time to clean and repair them and sharpen blades. A rototiller is a good tool for any serious gardener but dirt and mud building up on the blades can cause it to work harder and to rust. Give your tiller a good cleaning and then cover it before you put it away from the winter. Do the same with your hand tools. If there is rust building up on any of your tools, treat them with a rust remover and be sure to dry them thoroughly before storing them away.
These simple tips will ensure your soil is ready for the new year and that you’re ready to tend your garden once springs arrives.