Fall signals a slowing down of things, a time to preserve, clean up, bust out the slippers, and snuggle up next to the fire. That cozy feeling that creeps in as the weather changes is really magical.
If you live here in Columbus, Ohio or a similar climate, fall also means it’s time to start closing down the garden and preparing it for next Spring.
Here are a few Fall garden to do’s for you to tackle before winter settles in.
1. Remove spent plants and debris
Time to pull up or cut back any plants that have stopped producing. If the plants are pest and disease free go ahead and add them to your compost pile. If not, add them to your yard waste pick up bin.
3. Compost maintenance
Turn your compost. Water it, if needed. Cut down any large branches or twigs. Check the balance of browns vs. greens. Ideally this is something that you do often, but its always a good time to double check things when seasons change.
4. Rain barrel maintenance
If your rain barrel is full you can drain some of the water so it doesn’t expand during hard freezes. Check the screen to make sure it is intact so no debris can get into the barrel. Check the overflow spout to make sure its in working order.
5. Soil amendments
Add some good quality, organic material to your raised beds. Leaves are excellent for this and will feed the soil. Mulch them first to help them break down faster.
6. Clean and sharpen garden tools
Use steel wool or sandpaper to remove rust and clean off any stuck on dirt, sap, or debris. You can use rubbing alcohol to disinfect. Sharpen with a metal file and sharpening stone. Oil tools’ blades, springs, and wooden handles with vegetable oil or linseed oil.
7. Update the garden plan
Be sure you have kept a good record of what you have planted and where so you can properly plan your crop rotations for the Spring.
8. Build new beds
Want to expand the garden? Fall is a great time to get new beds built and prepped for early Spring planting.
Protect your fall garden crops from hard freezes and enjoy them for months to come.
10. Save seeds
There is still time to collect seeds from your plants. Before you pull or cut them back be on the lookout for any dried pods or flower buds. That’s usually where the seeds live. Pull one of dried pods off and crumble the it between your fingers. If tiny seeds come out you’re in business! Save the seeds in an air tight container and store them in a cool, dry place for next season.
Now, go get yourself a PSL and get to work!