Transitioning Your Garden Into the Fall Season

by Katie KucthaSeptember 13, 2017

It’s almost that time of the year to clean out your garden bed and prepare for the first frost, or utilize a couple months of decently cool weather for second season crops.

Either way, it’s time to get your hands dirty again! – Whether you are taking advantage of second season gardening or just cleaning up, there are still a few ways to get back in the garden. LawnStarter Lawn Care suggests proper lawn care to prepare your lawn for the weather change, here are some ways to transition your garden into the fall season.

1. Clean out your garden bed

Depending on which vegetables or plants you currently have planted, you will want to remove any spent plants and trim down perennials as they become dormant. By trimming down perennials you are salvaging the root of the plant. You can also “tuck” in the stem if needed, keep in mind these are your plants that will return in the spring, be sure to take care of them correctly.
Image of woman cleaning garden bed before transition of season
Remove any spent plants as needed, meaning everything from the roots up. Keep track of the layout of your garden bed, in case you mix perennial and annuals. This will help later on when preparing your garden for the spring time.

Transitioning your lawn care into the fall season can help the overall aesthetic of your yard and maintain a healthy soil base. Cleaning your lawn for additional debris can also be helpful and allow you to add the remnants into your compost pile.

2. Plant cover crops

If you are passionate about gardening and maintain consistent harvesting, you will want to plant a cover crop. Cover crops can also be known as green manure and are an organic form of a fertilizer. By doing so, you are helping to keep the soil enriched and protected through the cold seasons and jumpstart to your spring gardening.

Image of crop cover options
via Nancy Xu

The seeds can be planted directly on top of the soil to grow a mat-like layer over the crop. There are many different types of cover crops, this part really depends on your location climate and preference. For additional information on what seeds to use, talk to your local garden nursery for recommendations.

3. Cover beds with compost

Composting is becoming more and more popular due to its nature of being an organic fertilizer and allowing you to properly recycle any plant remnants. After cleaning out your garden bed, add any spent plants and debris into your compost pile and mix, making sure to turn the pile over. When adding new scraps into your pile, make sure you keep it balanced with old and new. The compost should be mostly shades of brown and ease on adding too much grass to it when cleaning up your lawn.
Image of compost bin with garden and kitchen waste
Covering your cleaned out garden bed can help with two things. One, it can help refurbish the soil if you are continuing to use your garden for second season harvesting. Two, it helps layer and protect the soil for the winter months.

4. Grow quick-late-summer vegetables

Assuming you cleaned out your browned out vegetable plants and left the second season ones. There are a few cool weather vegetables that you can plant in the late summer that will mature quickly. The faster plants of the bunch are going to be your leafy greens. Including arugula, kale, lettuce, and spinach. A few additional fast growing vegetables include carrots, beets, and cucumbers.
If you missed out in your spring planning this past year or had a bad crop for one reason or another, now is the time to revamp your garden and either prepare for the winter or reuse for some fall vegetable gardening.

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About The Author
Katie Kuctha
Katie Kuctha is a gardening guru and amateur foodie. She can often be found with a taco in one hand and a margarita in the other, follow her on instagram @atxtacoqueen.