Cleaning up the garden in the fall is just as important for your gardening season as the spring garden preparation. Fall is the time to assess plants and plans for planting new ones the following year, dividing spring blooming plants and bulbs, removing diseased and dead debris to prevent the spread of disease, and preparing the soil for spring planting.
With mid-November almost here, it’s time to close the book on this year’s gardening season and clean up for the winter. Normally, my husband and I tackle these jobs starting in late August. However, this year, our garden suffered lots of neglect during the summer. In September, we tried to catch up, but the beginning of school and various volunteer activities prevented us from making progress. Fortunately, we have a strong teenage son looking to earn some extra money through jobs around the house.
Fall Garden Clean Up List
- Rake and dump debris from rose bed in trash bags (to avoid disease)
- Put dead tomato plants in trash bags (to avoid disease)
- Put dead squash plants in trash bags (to avoid disease)
- Cut the bean plants and pea vines off at the ground and put the plants in the compost. The roots can stay in the ground.
- Pull out and compost: pepper plants, and cucumbers.
- Divide spring flowering bulbs and replant.
- Divide overgrown perenials (daylilies, hostas, echenacea, rudbeckia, sedum) and replant or share with a neighbor.
- Plant bulbs for the spring
Prepare for Next Year’s Gardening Season
My husband and I have realized we simply don’t have lots of time for an vegetable garden that requires daily maintenance. Our raised beds require preparation time in the spring: weeding, tilling, and mulching. During the summer, we constantly weed the garden beds and the paths between the beds. Then, there’s the fall clean up which was really bad this year since we neglected the vegetable garden so much.
Next spring, we’re turning half the garden area back to grass for the kids to play on. The rest of the garden will become 4 to 6 raised bed structures with easy-to-mow grass paths between them. This fall, we need to clean up the garden pretty thoroughly to reduce the amount of weeds sprouting from seeds left this year.
Favorite Gardening Tools
Since we’ve been gardening for almost 25 years, my husband and I have a large collection of gardening tools, all of them tried and true. We use these tools for fall and spring clean up. My husband does the maintenance of the tools to ensure their continued use.