Fall Gardening Season: 6 Tips for Closing the Garden

Article written by Troy-Bilt® brand ambassador Dave Townsend of Growing The Home Garden
Out of the four seasons, fall is by far my favorite. The weather is cooler, the trees turn colors, and all kinds of events take place. It's an exciting time for those who love the outdoors. For gardeners, it's also a time to start closing down the garden and making preparations for next year. Fall is the time to clean up and clean out the garden beds, and get things ready for winter so that you may have an easy start next spring.


6 Tips for Closing Down the Garden in Fall:

1. Clean up the vegetable garden. I take down all my tomato cages and remove the tomato vines. It's a good idea to burn the tomato plants to prevent the spread of diseases they may have picked up (like blight).
2. Removing fallen leaves. Cleaning up the leaves in the garden can be a lot of fun for the kids, but also very beneficial to the garden! After raking up the leaves (and the kids have had their fun jumping into the piles) use your mower with a bagging attachment to grind them up. Then you can use the ground leaves as compost material or for mulching. The ground leaves will break down and nourish the soil. You could also mow over the leaves and let them break down into the lawn. It's important to remove them from the grass so they do not mat down and smother areas of the lawn, but how you do that is up to you!
3. Clean out the old perennials. Cleaning out those old perennials makes the garden look a lot better, but sometimes it is a chore that is better left to springtime. If you have borderline perennials, you can leave the dead foliage up to help create an air pocket during the winter which will help insulate the plant. If your perennials aren't zoned in a borderline zone then there is no need to worry about this; but sometimes as gardeners, we cheat the zones to grow the plants we want to grow!
4. Put away the garden hose. I drain the hoses on a hillside slope for a day or so in the sun then collect them and put them away. If you roll them up in the sun they will be more pliable and, most importantly, they will be dry.
5. Clean up your garden tools. Both your power tools and hand tools need a good cleanup in the fall. When you're finally ready to put the tools away at the end of fall, sharpen your blades, clean off the dirt, grime and grass clippings on them, and prepare them to be put away. That way you have nothing to do to get ready in the spring.
6. Mulch the gardens. Topping the garden beds with a thick layer of mulch insulates the plants and reduces weeds that will emerge in the spring. Weed seeds are in the air right now and will settle in your garden beds. Waiting until late fall to mulch them will prevent some of the weed seeds from germinating in the spring!
Remember your preparation in the fall gets you ready for spring!