Fall really is a fantastic time to garden. The first reason being that the temps have cooled down. But, the main reason is that it gives us gardeners a jump on next spring. I’ll be honest and say that by this time, I’m usually ready for a gardening break. The flowers are tired and I’m tired. BUT, when I push myself and get these things done in the fall, it just simply makes for a better spring. So I’m challenging myself and you, as well, to get out there and get these few items checked off our lists. Next spring, we’ll be so happy we did. Join me as I lay out my Quick & Easy Steps for Fall Garden Clean Up.
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So not a lot of beautiful garden pictures today, just down to the nitty, gritty chores of maintaining and having healthy gardens. If you’re looking for pretty, here’s a fun Autumn Garden Tour.
Fall Is The Best Time To Prepare New Garden Areas
Stake out any areas where you want to create a new garden bed. This method (known as the “Lasagna Method”) works very well for me. I have used this method on several areas in my yard.
- Mow the grass or weeds down as low as possible.
- Cover the area with cardboard or a good layer of newspapers. If you don’t have either of those, these work great (in fact I like them better)
- Cover the cardboard or newspapers with grass and leave clippings.
- If the forecast doesn’t show rain in the next few days, soak the area really well with the hose.
- In the spring, with just some simple prep, you’ll have an area that’s ready to plant. The soil has been fortified from the paper, leaves and grass clippings over the winter. I would recommend tilling the area to mix the leaves, paper and grass clippings into the soil. Then, with a little raking, you will have a blank slate in which to create your garden bed, whether it be for flowers, veggies or any other kind of garden.
Fall Garden Clean Up – Vegetable Gardens
Clean out the vegetable beds. This is an easy task for me because I only have 4 – 4×4 raised beds to clean out. Here’s what I do:
- Pull all the vegetable plants after the first frost, or when the plants stop producing.
- Chop them up, either with a shovel; or, I just toss the plants in the yard and run the lawnmower over them and then throw the ground up mess back on top of the soil. This is much easier if you have a bag on your mower. Or, just through the plants in the compost.
- You can also toss mulched leaves and grass clippings on top of the beds as well.
- In the spring, the composted leaves, plants and grass clippings can be tilled into the soil and then raked out smooth.
To help remind you of this post later, here’s a Pin to add to one of your favorite gardening boards on Pinterest. There are more pins at the bottom of the post. Thanks for pinning!
How to Cleanup Flower Beds
When I set my mind to it and don’t get side-tracked, I can get my flowers beds cleaned up fairly quickly. Here’s what I do:
- I make a pass through my flower beds with my wheelbarrow and pick up all the decor and garden art. I then brush it off or hose it down and store it for winter.
- Make a quick sweep through the flower beds and pull all the annuals and weeds. I don’t recommend composting weeds, but the annuals can be tossed into the compost. If you want to collect seeds from your annuals, don’t forget to do that first. After I pull the annuals, I like to give them a good shake over the ground to see if I can get any volunteers next year. This works really well with snapdragons and sometimes marigolds. Give it a try.
- And lastly, on the flowers beds, I take the weed whacker and cut back all the perennials. Be sure to leave some seed heads for the birds. As a side note, I love, love, love this weed whacker. It’s lightweight and super easy to use (even for a girl). My hubs loves it too and has pretty much forsaken his gas powered beast for this battery powered one.
- As an extra step, and one I always appreciate in the spring, go through and replace any missing or faded plant tags, or ones you might have chopped up with the weed whacker (Yep, I’ve done that.)
- I usually go through and rake my flower beds at least once in the fall and that cuts down on the amount of clean up I have to do in the spring. This rake is the best for cleaning up flower beds in the fall. It’s adjustable, which makes it’s so much easier to get around and between your plants, stones and fencing.
Fall Garden Clean Up – Container Gardens
I usually just dump my containers into a big plastic wheelbarrow that has a hole in the bottom for drainage, chop it up as best I can and leave it to compost over winter and then reuse it the following spring. Here are a few other things I do with my containers:
- I pull out any perennials that I’ve used in container gardens and plant them in the ground. I have lots of creeping jenny in containers and it’s actually a perennial here in Zone 4. To save money, I will dig it all out of the planters and put it in a small nursery pot and bury the plant, pot and all. I’m also going to try this with some vinca vine this year. Hosta is another perennial that I use in shady container gardens sometimes.
- Take some cuttings from plants like coleus to start some new babies indoors. Coleus can be rooted very easily in water, or by using a rooting hormone powder. I have some beautiful variegated ivy in my window box that I’m going to take some cuttings from too.
- If you have Caladium, Tuberous Begonias, Canna Lilies, Calla Lilies, Gladiolas, etc., in colder climates these plants will not overwinter outdoors and have to be replanted every spring. However, the tubers or bulbs can be dug and stored over winter indoors and planted again next spring. It’s a great way to stretch your gardening budget. Also the bulbs get bigger and better every year. If you are interested in learning how to over winter tender bulbs and even geraniums, check out Fall Gardening – Thinking Ahead to Next Spring.
To help keep myself on task, I put together a handy little checklist that’s available in my Gardening Resources Library. Get your own Fall Garden Clean Up Checklist and instant access to all my free printables by completing the subscription form below.
That’s it for my Fall Garden Clean Up Tips. Do you clean up your gardens in the fall, or do you wait for Spring?
There’s still plenty of time for most of us to get our fall gardening projects completed before the ground freezes and the snow flies. Here are some articles that will help you get some of those fall gardening projects done:
And, the very best Resource for keeping me on track with all my Gardening Projects is my Garden Journal. Check out DIY Garden Journal to learn more.
Gardeners all over are divided on the topic of Fall Garden Cleanup and whether you should or shouldn’t clean up your gardens in the Fall. I’m not going to go into all the if’s, and’s or but’s here, but if you want to see reasons why you shouldn’t clean up your gardens in the fall, here is an informative article on Savvy Gardening.
I don’t always get as much clean up done in my gardens in the fall as I would like, but I’m really like to get as much cleaned up in the fall as possible. If you have problems with bad bugs or diseases in your gardens, I think it’s best to get the mess cleaned up and don’t give them a place to hang out for the winter. I’m pretty sure I have voles in a few of my beds and I really don’t want to make winter easy on them. I seriously hate rodents! Anyway, you decide what works for you and just go with it.
I’m so glad you stopped by Gingham Gardens today! Feel free to hang around the gardens for awhile. I love hearing from you, so if you have any questions or comments, feel free to fill out the comment form at the bottom of this post.
p.s. Please help me out by pinning these pictures. Simply hover in the upper left-hand corner and click the “pin” icon. There are more pins at the bottom of the page. Thanks!!!!
p.p.s. Follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest for lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.
The Perfect Tools for Fall Garden Cleanup:
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