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Winding Down The Summer Garden

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Winding Down The Summer Garden

Goodbye, summer! While it may not be fall quite yet, it’s looming ahead. And when it’s here, you want to be ready for a new season of planting, so let’s take a look at your summer garden to see what’s what.

And before you start a major cleanup, we urge you to become familiar (if you’re not already) with suggested planting times for your area. This information will help you determine not only your planting schedule, but your seasonal garden chores and tasks. Your local extension office should have a month-by-month chart that shows you what should be happening in the garden at that time.

How to Wind Down the Summer Garden

Decide what needs to happen in your end-of-summer garden, then plan it out safely. Only the smallest of gardens can be cleaned up in one weekend or a day, so save your back by using your head to plan several weekends worth of activities. And get those kids out there! And if you don’t have littles, we recommend bribing family and friends with a cookout and cocktails — works every time.

  • Remove anything that’s dead or diseased. If it’s dead, into the compost pile it goes! Diseased? Throw it out — do not compost it. It’s amazing how much better your garden looks  by completing this first step. 
  • Weed. Get ‘em outta there. 
  • Give some plants a little haircut. Many perennials love a little late-season haircut, and they may even reward you with a new flush of blooms. Regardless, at this point in the summer, some of your plants may be looking leggy, spent, and weary, and a light trim is all that’s needed.
  • Plan your seed sowing schedule. Are you starting seeds for your cool weather veggie garden? The time to do this varies greatly depending upon where you live, but for many mild climates, that time is now.
  • Order plants/bulbs/seeds. Yeah, we know, you think you have all the time in the world to do that. But before you know it, fall is here and all the bulbs you wanted are nowhere to be found. Avoid that heartache by preordering now.
  • Schedule mulch delivery. In theory, you can mulch at any time you see the need, but fall is the preferred time. You want to mimic Mother Nature when she releases all the leaves from the trees — it’s like a blanket for the bed. Whether you use bagged or bulk mulch, schedule the delivery with your local landscape supply yard so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
  • Make sure you have enough soil amendments/compost on hand for upcoming planting. You can use your own, or buy some bagged, or have it delivered in bulk. But fall planting is the ideal time to work amendments into your soil to ensure it’s healthy enough to support your plants. 
  • Tidy up. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a clean and tidy garden, is there? Recycle any plastic pots lying around, organize your tools, give the grass a mowing, and clean up your back patio or deck. Now, my friends, you are ready for fall. 

Here’s Some Homework for Extra Credit

Now that you have your summer garden tidied up and ready for fall, it does kind of beg the question — what are your plans for fall gardening? Wouldn’t you know, there’s a blog post for that. Or four.

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  • Jenny Peterson