For gardeners, the sounds and smells of spring signal planting time. As the plants flourish, they await the harvest, and after that they must wait again for spring. Still, during the cooler months of fall, you can do quite a bit to continue enjoying your garden and prepare it for spring planting. Follow along as we discuss what to do in the fall to prepare for a spring garden.
Rake the Garden Area
By now, you’ve likely harvested all your garden plants. Rake up whatever is left in the garden so that your soil can have a fresh start in the spring. You can add what you rake up to your compost pile.
Focus on Compost
Fall is the time to focus on compost. Use whatever compost you have to cover the garden so that it’s ready for spring. Then, cover the compost with a layer of fall leaves to retain moisture and keep the compost in place. Apply about two to four inches of compost.
During all seasons, including fall, continue to grow your compost so that you always have enough. Here are some ideas for collecting compost in any season:
- Keep a bucket in the kitchen to collect table scraps.
- Add outdoor pieces directly to your composting bin or pile.
- Remember your green items: grass clippings, fruits and veggies, coffee grounds, eggshells, weeds, and flowers.
- Remember your brown items: straw, dried leaves, paper, and cardboard.
If you’re using a compost pile, you can continue to build it in the cooler months; however, you’ll want to cover it with straw, leaves, or a compost cover to protect it.
If you collect rain in rain barrels, plan on draining them in late fall before the freezing temperatures hit. If the water freezes inside them, you risk a crack in the barrels, so empty them now so that you can harvest water again in the spring. If you’re new to rain harvesting, remember there are some water harvesting laws you should be aware of. Contact your state to see if they promote or discourage this practice.
One of the best parts of preparing for a spring garden in the fall is sitting down with your favorite seed catalog and doing some planning. Now is the time to reap the rewards of your spring garden and enjoy planning the next one. Consider the following questions as you plan:
- Did you enjoy gardening this year?
- Was it too much work, or would you like more of a challenge?
- What produced the greatest yield?
- What would you do the same or change?
- What new plants would you like to add next year?
Enjoy planning and preparing for your spring garden as the temperatures drop. Fall is a beautiful time to get some fresh air and have everything ready for next year’s garden before Jack Frost pays a visit.