12 Aug End of Summer Gardening Tips: Preparing Your Fall Garden
It’s still mostly sunny and warm out in Kelowna, but there’s a hint of cool in the evenings now. For a lot of gardeners, that means one thing: it’s time to start thinking about putting the summer garden to bed and preparing for the fall.
So, what can you do now while we’re still in the heat of summer to get ready for a successful fall garden? We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you out.
Steps You Can Take To Prepare Your Garden for the Fall Season
As the summer winds down, there are a few key things you can do to your garden to get it ready for the cooler weather and shorter days of fall. Ideally, it would be best to start six to eight weeks before autumn hits. This will give you enough time to get your garden ready for the colder months ahead. Here are a few steps you can take now to get ahead of the game.
1) Evaluate Your Garden
Assessing what did and didn’t work in your garden this year is an important first step in preparing for next year. Make note of what crops did well, which ones struggled, and where you had issues with pests or diseases. This information will be helpful as you plan your garden for next year.
It’s also a good time to take a close look at your soil. Doing a soil test will tell you what nutrients your soil is lacking and how to amend it. Having healthy soil is essential for growing strong, healthy plants.
If you made any changes to your garden this year, such as adding new beds or amending the soil, make sure to take note of how those changes impacted your plants. This will help you fine-tune your gardening methods in the future.
2) Amend The Soil
Fall is the perfect time to add amendments to your garden beds. Adding compost or other organic matter will help improve the quality of your soil, which will, in turn, benefit your plants. Additionally, mulch is always a good idea in the fall.
Mulch is a layer of material, typically organic, that is spread on top of the soil around plants. Common mulches include wood chips, leaves, and bark. When selecting a mulch, it is important to consider the needs of the specific plant. For example, some plants require a light layer of mulch while others benefit from a thicker layer. Mulch should also be reapplied regularly to maintain its effectiveness. It helps to protect plants from the cold and also prevents weeds from taking over.
3) Check Your Plant’s Health
In the fall, many plants will start to go into dormancy. This is a natural process in which plants slow down their growth and prepare for winter.
So before your plants take their winter nap, it’s a good idea to check their health and give them any necessary treatments. For example, if you notice any pests or diseases, now is the time to address those issues.
Additionally, now is a good time to trim back any dead or dying leaves or branches. This will help the plant focus its energy on growing new, healthy growth.
4) Replace Old Plants With New Ones
While many gardeners enjoy the challenge of keeping their gardens looking beautiful year-round, most plants are only designed to thrive in specific seasons.
In the fall, as the days grow shorter and the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to take steps to prepare your garden for the change of season.
One way to do this is to replace summer annuals in window boxes and garden beds with cool-weather flowers. This will give your garden a fresh look for the fall. Additionally, you should dig up any bulb plants that aren’t hardy in your zone. These bulbs can be replanted in the spring, but they won’t survive the winter if they’re left in the ground. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your garden is ready for the cooler months ahead.
5) Tend To Your Compost
An important task you should remember to do is to tend to your compost. By regularly aerating and turning your compost pile, you’ll help to speed up the decomposition process. This will provide a source of nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
In addition, fall is a good time to add any leftover leaves or plant debris to your compost pile. This will help to create a healthy balance of material, ensuring that your compost is able to break down properly over the winter months. So don’t forget to give your compost some love as you prepare your garden for fall.
6) Lay Off the Fertilizer
As autumn approaches, your garden may start to look a bit bedraggled. One way to revive it is to fertilize your plants. However, you may want to hold off on this until next spring.
Fall is a time when plants are preparing for winter dormancy, and they don’t need the extra boost of nutrients that fertilizer provides. In fact, fertilizer can actually do more harm than good at this time of year. It can encourage new growth that won’t have time to harden off before the first frost, leading to damage or even death. So, if you’re looking to give your garden a little TLC this fall, skip the fertilizer and focus on tasks like pruning, raking leaves, and mulching beds.
Like we said, now is the time to focus on pruning. This task is important for a number of reasons. For one, you can help your plants to focus their energy on growth and reproduction. Pruning also encourages new growth, which can help your plants to better withstand the colder temperatures of winter.
When pruning, be sure to use clean, sharp tools to avoid damaging the plant. Also, take care not to over-prune, as this can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to disease. With a little care and attention, you can help your garden to thrive throughout the autumn months.
8) Continue Watering Your Plants
As we draw closer to fall, your garden will eventually begin to enter its dormant phase. During this time, plant growth slows down and many plants will go into a state of semi-hibernation. While your garden won’t need much attention during this period, the time leading up to dormancy is crucial.
One of the most important things you can do during this time is to continue watering your plants. With cooler temperatures and less rainfall, your plants will be at risk of dehydration. Giving them a deep watering now will help them to stay healthy throughout the winter. In addition, watering your plants will also help to replenish the soil and prevent erosion. So make sure to give your garden a good drink before the autumn months set in.
9) Clean Out Your Garden Storage Area
As you prepare your garden for fall, don’t forget to take care of your garden storage area. This is the time to go through all of your gardening tools and equipment and make sure that everything is in good working order.
Cleaning and sharpening your tools now will save you a lot of time and effort later on. You should also take stock of your supplies and make sure that you have everything you need for the autumn months. This includes things like mulch and seeds. By taking care of your garden storage area now, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when fall and spring arrives.
10) Choose Plants That Are Suited For Fall
When selecting plants for your fall garden, it’s important to choose those that are well-suited for the cooler temperatures and shorter days of autumn. Some plants, such as annuals and tender perennials, will begin to die back as the weather gets colder. Others, like evergreens and hardy perennials, will continue to grow and thrive. So when choosing plants for your fall garden, be sure to select those that are appropriate for the season.
Need Help Preparing Your Garden for Autumn?
Contact Kel Lake Garden Centre for all of your autumn gardening needs. We have everything you need to get your garden ready for the colder months, from plants and seeds to tools and accessories, to expert advice. Let us help you make the most of this beautiful season!