Fall Garden Checklist

Fall Garden Checklist

It is never too early to think about your spring garden – that is why it needs some attention in the fall. When the weather cools down, it’s time to finish the gardening season by preparing your gardens for winter. Use this fall garden checklist that can make all the difference next spring!

Leave the Leaves
Leave plenty of healthy plant material in your garden to help feed garden wildlife over the winter months. Some insects will hibernate in the leaves or leave behind eggs to hatch in spring, giving birds something to munch on upon their return.
Plants naturally drop their leaves to feed the roots as they decompose. Leave some of the leaves on the soil until spring so the plants can get their nutrient boost!

Mulching in the fall creates a warm blanket on the top of the soil that slowly breaks down into humus that will feed the soil.
If you have deciduous trees on your property, mulching is easy! Let the leaves fall on the garden and leave them there as mulch. In the spring, the mulched leaves can be left in place when you add a layer of compost or topsoil. They will continue to feed the soil as they break down.

Remove Diseased Material
Removing any diseased plant material or fallen fruit is good practice to stop the spread of pests and diseases the following year. It is important to remove anything that will cause you problems in the spring.

Plant Spring Bulbs
Many of your favourite spring flowers, such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, allium, and crocus, must be planted in the fall to get that cold bust.

Grow Fall & Winter Vegetables
Vegetable gardening doesn’t have to end in the fall. There are some super seedy and frost-hardy vegetables out there that can grow before the winter chill sets in.

The most exciting garden task in the fall is harvesting. Celebrate your success, and then get to harvesting and preserving herbs, vegetables, and flowers.

Save the Seeds
As your plants go to seed, it’s time to collect them! Look at your favourite seasonal flowers and vegetables and see what you want to include in next year’s garden. Collect only seeds from the strongest plants, so next year’s garden is even better than this one.

Plant Your Shrubs
Fall means it is time to plant shrubs and evergreens. The best time of year for planting, the warm soil and cold air help to develop a strong enough root system to get through the winter.

Amend Soil
Give your garden some nutrition back by amending garden soil in the fall.
Make compost at home using a compost bin to turn leaves, food scraps, and more into a soil amendment. Spread the compost around the garden. From there, it will do the hard work for you.

Divide Perennials
Dividing perennials increases your plant stock and helps them fill in, improve blooming, and avoid overcrowding. For the healthiest perennials, dividing them in the fall is essential. Many perennials thrive by being divided, especially if they are crowded.

Clean Your Garden Tools
Fall is a great time to give your garden tools a good scrubbing. Wash hand tools like trowels and rakes with soapy water and a scouring sponge. Use a power washer to get large tools clean. You will also want to wrap up your garden hose and fully drain it of any water before curling it up.

Susan Wells

Store Manager, Bridgewater NS