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Fall garden clean up

Updated on April 17, 2017
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Rainbow chard

Chard, kale and spinach are packed with nutrients and fast growing. To extend the season of any of these, remove only the outer leaves.
Chard, kale and spinach are packed with nutrients and fast growing. To extend the season of any of these, remove only the outer leaves. | Source

Tender Baby Lettuces

Red and green baby Romaine lettuce is mild and tender.
Red and green baby Romaine lettuce is mild and tender. | Source

Finishing up the garden season

It takes 5 weeks to produce a tomato. 3 weeks of growing followed by 2 weeks to ripen. So, your last tomatoes of the season must be on the vine 6 or 7 weeks before the first frost date in your region.

Topping off your tomato plants is a good idea. If you are planning to save tomato seed, your plants will continue to grow the best and biggest fruit of the remaining season. That is the kind of tomato you want for seed saving.

Fall crops are often the sweetest. For example, kale and carrots will be sweeter after a light frost. If you've never tried fall gardening, it will only cost you the price of a packet of seed.

If the garden still has productive garden plants, you must be doing something right. So do that. Most summer vegetable plants have given up their harvest by now. Remove spent plants to the compost pile, or get them out of the garden. Don't leave opportunities for insects and disease to overwinter.

If you haven't exhausted your enthusiasm for gardening, consider a few cool season crops. See Best cool season crops for containers and small gardens for vegetable recommendations. There is less weeding, insect and disease damage. Your garden will require less watering and no additional fertilizer.

The exciting thing about fall vegetable crops is that you may just be able to add fresh food from your garden to the Thanksgiving table. The same thing that you grew earliest in the garden this spring are the same things to grow now. Salad greens and brassicas are ideal for cool season gardening.

If you have left over seeds, radish, salad greens, collards, spinach or, kale, sow them for fall harvest. Go ahead and use up any remaining seed from the spring. A fall garden costs nothing and can produce plenty of fresh veggies.

Repurpose hanging baskets

When hanging baskets of flowers are done for the season, lettuce still hase a few week or possibly months to grow. Shown here :mesclun
When hanging baskets of flowers are done for the season, lettuce still hase a few week or possibly months to grow. Shown here :mesclun | Source

Late Garden Crops

The brassica family includes common leafy vegetables. It includes these vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rape, rutabaga and turnip. These light frost tolerant vegetables are often grown as fall ornamentals.

It is also a good idea that your last crop this fall be a cover crop. Also known as a green manure crop the purpose is to enrich soil by increasing organic matter and replenishing soil nutrients.

Planting fast-growing cover crops will suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion and boost nutrients in the soil.

Cover crops loosen soil because their deep root systems penetrate soil and improve aeration. Root systems of cover crops like clovers can grow down to five feet deep.

Tender young chard

These plants should be thinned and given more growing space. Eat the plants that are thinned out.
These plants should be thinned and given more growing space. Eat the plants that are thinned out. | Source

Garden clean up

Garden cleanup now will give you a couple of weeks jump on next springs garden season. Remove all garden trash and dead or diseased plant matter. In other words, remove any plant matter that may harbor insects or where disease can over winter.

Enrich soil - Spread a layer of compost or chopped, shredded leaves over the garden. Now is the time to have a soil test. Labs are less busy and you have time to amend the soil without delaying spring planting.

Topping your garden with a layer of shredded leaves will help to keep the soil moist. It eliminates the need for spring tilling. Since I started layering the leaves into the garden, there is no need for tilling. In fact, I sold my tiller.

Same as spring

If you love fresh picked lettuce and radishes, try growing a fall crop.
If you love fresh picked lettuce and radishes, try growing a fall crop. | Source

Get ready for fall

Gather herbs and save - Homemade herb vinegars

Plant chard, spinach, lettuce in the cool of fall. Grow cool season crops organic Swiss Chard

Cooked or fresh, How to Grow Organic Arugula Add arugula leaves to salads. Mix with spinach.

Add this apple pie to your fall menu. Sausage and apple pie a fall favorite

Comments

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  • Mama Kim 8 profile image

    Sasha Kim 

    5 years ago

    Thank you Patsy, I'll keep that in mind ^_^

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Mama Kim 8, I appreciate your kind words. Old garden writers like to help new gardeners. Please feel free to ask any questions. Who knows the question could turn into our next hub!

  • Mama Kim 8 profile image

    Sasha Kim 

    5 years ago

    Oh this reminds me... I have some work to do in the garden! I love all the great tips and information in this hub. I'm a fairly new gardener and am always looking for more information. Thank you. Voting up and useful!

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