Fall is a great time to get a little extra gardening in for the year. While short growing season cool weather plants thrive in fall gardens you can also use fall gardening to set up your spring garden by planting bulbs like garlic. Your fall garden will need a little help to thrive when the temperatures drop. So let’s look at what you can do to get your garden ready in Fall.
10 Tips for a great fall garden
1. Know your Zone
Choose plants that thrive in cooler weather. Use this growing zone map to see what will grow well where you live. For southern gardens fall is a prime growing season perfect to take advantage of. Then hop on over to Gardening Know How and type your zone into the search bar and a whole bunch of articles will show you everything you need to know for your are.
2. Prepare your garden for fall
To get your garden in the best shape possible for getting your garden ready in fall:
- deadhead flowering plants
- dig up bulbs that need to be stored for the winter
- divide overgrown plants
- take out annuals and use compost to fill holes
- check for and treat or remove diseased plants
3. Use a sheet
If you live further north you will need to protect your fall garden plants from frost. If you are looking at a mild frost you can simply cover plant beds with a sheet to keep zone hardy fall plants growing.
4. Use Full Sun
Plant in full sun to help keep your plants warm and provide them with enough light during
shorter fall days. While many fall growing plants can grow well in the shade this changes in the fall when there is less sun than in the summer. By placing your plants in full sun you give them a chance to get enough light to thrive.
5. Use Row Covers before the first snow
To help your fall garden thrive longer use row covers in your garden. You can even use hoops
and plastic sheeting to make a portable mini-greenhouse over your plants to help them keep
warm and grow longer into the fall growing season. Depending on where you live, this can be
used to help you grow your fall garden well into the first snow.
Go heavy on the mulch to help protect the roots of your plants for the cold. This can prevent rot and extend the life of your plants longer as the weather cools down. Choose a natural mulch like grass clippings and wood chips that can be tilled into the soil at the end of the growing season to add organic matter to your sold or the spring growing season.
7. harvest before first frost
Keep an eye on the weather. Harvest any produce you can before a frost is expected to hit.
While many things can be cooked unripe or ripened after picking you can not save things that
have been damaged by frost and begun to rot. Harvesting often during the fall can help prevent accidentally missing a frost advisory and losing more than necessary to the cold weather.
8. Stop Fertilizing
Be careful to not over-fertilize your fall garden. Fertilizing your garden too late in the season can encourage grow larger rather than putting energy into producing or preparing for the upcoming winter. Stop fertilizing at least 6 weeks before the first expected frost to give your plants the best chance.
9. Water early in the day
Water your plants early in the day to allow the water time to evaporate before the night chill sets in. This will prevent water from settling and freezing around the base and roots of your plants causing them to die off. Be sure to water at the base of the plant avoiding getting the leaves wet.
If you love roses like I do, then don’t prune your roses in the Fall. Pruning or removing dead wood stimulates new grows which could be detrimental to your roses in the winter.
Do you garden in Fall? What are some tips that have been successful for getting your garden ready in fall?