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Fall Gardening Chores

Posted September 04, 2021

Fall is the best time of year as far as I'm concerned! Temperatures start to drop, winter squash, pears, late peaches and other goodness is coming on! But! The work doesn't stop for most of us gardeners. There is so much we can do.

Early Fall

This is a productive time in the garden with fruit trees and late vegetables coming's into full harvest, so take time to pick, cut, or pull your maturing crops regularly.  As plants die back, clear away and add any spent growth to the compost pile to help control pest and diseases for next year. 

Apply compost, manure and other amendments to vacated rows and beds before tilling and replanting with cover crops or covering with mulch.

Plant hardy vegetables (find your planting zone) that will overwinter about a month before first frost, and protect them with row covers.  

Seeds that can be sown in warmer climates are spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, mustard greens, turnips, radishes and fava beans

Fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries can be planted.

Plant bare garden beds or fields with winter cover crops.

Continue weed control. The less weeds you let go to seed this fall, the less you will have to deal with next spring.

 Divide overgrown perennials and congested bulbs.


Although the days are still warm, the nights will get colder, so now is the time to start protecting tender plants from frost by bringing them under cover or providing them with protection outside. Clearing fallen leaves is also an important task now, since they can smother lawns and plants.

Plant garlic, leek transplants and other alliums. Onions may need frost blankets or even forgo planting till spring if your winters are harsh.

Put fresh water out for birds and other garden wildlife daily.

Many plants have attractive seedheads. You can leave these in place in the garden for winter where they will add structure and feed for birds.  They can also be cut and brought in for a winter display.

Start to plant spring-flowering bulbs. 

Late fall

As the days continue to shorten and temperatures drop, make the most of the time you can spend outside in the garden. The soil will stay warm for several weeks to come, making this a good time to choose new plants, and to plant and make changes to your planting schemes. 

Sow fava beans. Fava beans are frost tolerant and they make a great cover crop. 

You can still plant more strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, garlic, plums, apples and cherries. 

Harvest the last of the warm season crop and store or persevere for winters use.  It's so nice to have a supply of fruits and vegetables through the winter month that you have grown!

Compost healthy plant debris. 

Mulch slightly tender plants outside to protect them from from frost. 

Plant the last of spring-flowering bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips and crocus. 



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