Get a Head Start on Your Fall Garden
Check this list for essential tasks to keep your garden growing through the summer heat and into fall.
To protect ripening fall pumpkins and winter squash from rotting on the bottom, put a piece of terra-cotta underneath them. Cover the squash with netting if your garden attracts hungry critters.
Gather Fallen Fruit
Pick up all the fallen fruit from your trees. Not only does this keep wasps to a minimum, it limits disease spread.
Remove Self-Sowing Seedheads
Clip and remove ripening seedheads from plants that are aggressive self-sowers. That would include plants like Joe-Pye weed, lemon balm, comfrey, cleome and money plant. Be sure to destroy them — not compost them!
Dry Summer Blooms
Dried herbs and flowers are great for holiday gift-giving. Now’s the time to start harvesting the herbs and flowers you want to use.
Remove Spent Vegetables & Infected Tomato Plants
Summer squash, bean plants and any other vegetable plants that are finished for the season — yank them and compost. The same goes for tomato plants that are done bearing and show signs of late blight, except these should be destroyed, not composted.
Fall Vegetable Plan
Direct sow carrots, beans, broccoli, collards and green onions. Start lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens inside to put out when cooler weather arrives in late September. Buy radish, beet and other cool crop seeds for your fall garden to be planted in September.
Plant Fall Florals
For seasonal color, plant fall-blooming annual mums, as well as seeds of sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, cleome and marigolds. Also, plant fall flowering bulbs like crocus and colchicum.
Ready Soil for Second Planting Season
After all the plants that have finished producing for the summer have been removed, pull the weeds and rototill the soil to prepare for planting fall crops.
Cut off any spent blooms to prevent perennials from setting more seeds. Also, continue deadheading roses and other blooming shrubs, annuals and perennials to encourage rebloom.
Aerate and de-thatch the lawn before cold weather arrives. Also, reseed any bare spots left from the summer heat.