6 Fall Garden Tasks You Can’t Ignore

Kel Lake - 6 Fall Garden Tasks You Can't Ignore

6 Fall Garden Tasks You Can’t Ignore

The leaves are changing color, the air is getting cooler, and winter will be here before you know it. Now that fall is in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about a few garden tasks that need your attention now if you want to take full advantage of the off season.

To help you get ready, we’ve prepared this 6-point checklist so you can be sure to get everything done before we officially leave the season behind.

 

1) Do a garden cleanup 

Your summer garden had a good run, but now it’s time to tidy up before the cold weather sets in.

Why is this important?

Cleaning out your garden beds now helps prevent pests and diseases from coming into your garden in the colder months.

What’s the best approach to do this?

  • Remove and compost spent plants and weeds from the garden beds.
    If you have summer vegetables, pull them up before they go to seed—they’ll provide a nice source of organic matter for your compost bin or pile. Consider doing some weeding too so you can prevent future weeds from taking root as the weather begins cooling down.
  • Remove all garden debris
    If the leaves in your yard aren’t too thick, simply raking them up with a leaf rake may be enough of an initial cleanup. This is the quickest, easiest option.

 

2) Till the soil for good measure

Fall is the perfect time to till since you’re already getting rid of debris from summer, so it’s a good idea to do this while the ground is soft and easy to work with.

Why is this important?

Tilling the soil aerates it and helps break up any clumps that may have formed.

What’s the best approach to do this?

You can use either an electric or manual tiller depending on how much yard space you need to cover. If you choose to use an electric tiller, make sure it’s charged before getting started to save time and energy!

It’s also a good idea to add some organic matter or fertilizer to the soil before you leave it for winter. This will help prepare the ground for next spring so you don’t have as much work when everything starts up again.

 

3) Apply a fresh layer of mulch

Kel Lake - 6 Fall Garden Tasks You Can't Ignore

Now that your garden is clean and freshly tilled, you can apply a fresh layer of mulch to help protect the soil.

Why is this important?

Mulching helps prevent weed growth and retains moisture in the ground. Not only does it look nice, but it also helps prevent weeds from coming up and protects the soil against winter erosion.

What’s the best approach to do this?

A two- to three-inch layer of mulch is perfect for your garden beds right now.  Plus, if you have a lot of leaves in your yard after raking them out, mulching is a great way to turn them into something useful!

If you’re doing any kind of planting this fall (and we hope you are!), make sure not to mulch right away and give your new plants a bit of time to establish before adding mulch.

 

4) Prune your trees and shrubs

You’ve been enjoying your trees and shrubs all summer, but it’s important to prune them now before the weather gets too chilly.

Why is this important?

If you don’t prune back your perennials now, they are likely to die over winter—and that means more work for you next spring! It also prevents potential hazards as the shrubs and trees grow.

What’s the best approach to do this?

If you’re only pruning a few plants, use manual tools like hand shears. If you need to tackle larger areas, it’s best to rent an electric or gas-powered chainsaw for the job. Just be sure not to just cut the tops of these plants back because this could shock them into dying since you’re depriving their roots of sunlight.

Don’t forget—winter is also a great time for planting small trees and shrubs! The ground won’t be too cold or wet yet so now is the perfect opportunity to get them started well before spring rolls around.

 

5) Plant some frost-tolerant vegetables

Kel Lake - 6 Fall Garden Tasks You Can't Ignore

If you didn’t get the chance to plant summer veggies like tomatoes, now is a great time to start seeds for frost-tolerant vegetables that can survive into next year. This includes things like carrots and beets which taste much better when harvested in cool weather.

Why is this important?

You don’t have to worry about frost or snow destroying your crops with these vegetables, so you can start harvesting them earlier in the fall. Plus they taste great when harvested at the right time! What’s more, you’ll get an early jump on spring planting by starting seeds now for all of next year’s veggies!

What’s the best approach to do this?

You can start seeds indoors. Once they’re about two inches tall, transplant them into your garden. Make sure you don’t disturb their roots too much and give them plenty of space—these veggies can get very big!

Some of our favorite frost-tolerant vegetables include:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Lettuce and other leafy greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Turnips and other root vegetables
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Garlic

As you plan what to plant this fall, make sure to check if your area has a hard freeze coming up before planting anything since even the most frost-tolerant plants probably won’t survive if the temperature drops below freezing for an extended period of time.

 

6) Extend the growing season by covering plants with row covers or plastic tunnels

If you have a lot of cool-season vegetables that didn’t get the chance to grow before fall came around, this is your last best shot at getting a harvest out of them!

Why is this important?

Using row covers or plastic tunnels is great for protecting plants from extreme temperatures and wind. This is a great way to get another round of beets, carrots, lettuce, and other leafy greens before the ground freezes.

What’s the best approach to do this?

You can use row covers or plastic tunnels over your plants in two different ways: you can lay them directly on top of the plant (which works well for short-term protection) or anchor them into the soil around your plants (which works well for longer periods of time).

Bonus Tip: If you have a lot of plants that need to be protected from the cold, try using chicken wire as an inexpensive way to protect them. Just cut it to size and lay it on top of your plants like a blanket. This is also great for protecting perennials from hungry critters (think: rabbits, deer, etc.) while they’re dormant in the winter!

Complete Your Fall Gardening To-Do

Ready to tick off all of your fall gardening to-do? Kel Lake Garden Centre has everything you need to prepare your garden for fall and winter. Come visit us today to pick up everything you need for your fall planting or winter sowing! We can also help answer any specific questions about growing veggies in the fall–so don’t hesitate to contact us too. 

 

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