Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy seasonal pumpkins, squash, green beans, broccoli and cabbage. But before we enjoy the bounty of our fall harvest, there is work to do! Fortunately, prepping for a fall garden can be done in three easy steps. Once prepping is complete, be sure to read our complete guide on what to plant in the late summer for a fall harvest.
Step 1: Gently begin pruning plants that need it. Yet, don’t prune plants just for the sake of pruning (it’s easy to get carried away!). Simply prune dead or dying plants to control your plant’s direction of growth, and the quantity of fruit it can produce. Pinch to remove growth buds, flowers, or immature fruit.
Step 2: Remove plants that are diseased, old or damaged by pests – they will most likely never produce abundantly again. Weeds also grow rampant in the summer time, and need to be pulled. Our guide to preventing and removing weeds can help with this endeavor. Leave all frost friendly veggies if the foliage is still healthy and producing.
Step 3: Add organic matter like mulch or compost a few weeks before planting, as this can greatly improve the soil quality for your fall harvest. This is because organic matter provides soil microorganisms, rejuvenating the native soil and increasing the likelihood of a successful fall crop.
If needed: Take note of the position of your garden and the sun. Decide which plants will require full or partial sun, and re-position your garden accordingly. Use large plants (like sunflowers) to protect plants that require more shade. Remember the saying, “The right plant in the right space”
A Reminder About Frost Damage: It’s difficult to imagine that cooler weather has the potential to bring unexpected frosts in the near future. To prevent frost damage, the best method is to move plants in containers or pots inside before the first frost. However, if plants are rooted in the ground, use old blankets, sheets and burlap sacks and lightly drape them over your plants in the evening. Make sure to remove the covers in the morning so that each plant receives plenty of necessary sunlight. Stones, stakes or bricks can also be used to prevent covers from blowing off. Avoid using heavy blankets or place wire around the plant to balance the weight and prevent crushing.
What are you planting in your gardens for the fall harvest?