September and early October are excellent times to prepare your garden for the fall. A few preventative steps can help your crops stay healthy. As a reminder, our recommended fall planting week starts October 16th! You will receive your seeds during the Fall Planning and Planting Workshops or during a scheduled Big Green Planting Day.
Fall Garden Prep Checklist
- Remove non-perennial/out-of-season plants – while some crops like tomatoes and basil can keep growing, they will not produce well in the fall. Tomatoes (especially) are heavy feeders and will remove the soil of much needed nitrogen for your other plants–the cost to the soil is not worth the low payout. This is a great time to grow & eat seasonally!
- Clean up debris in and around garden beds – leaf litter can make great homes for pests and fungi in between seasons. Removing weeds & trash around the beds will also help minimize the occurrence of pests and help beautify the Learning Garden. If you planted a cover crop or would like to use your plants as green manure, chop up your plants and till them in the soil. This will help speed up the decomposition process! Discard–do not compost–diseased leaves.
- Replenish your soil – with our year-round growing period it is a great idea to add compost, green manure, worm castings, etc. to your soil between growing seasons. Follow application recommendations listed on the package. Note: avoid using coarse “soil” mixes and mulch as it will decrease your seed germination rate. If purchasing manure, composted manure should be used.
- Test out the watering system – this is a great time to mend or replace a leaky hose, check the irrigation system (if you intend to use it), ensure all participating Garden Team members have access to a water key, and/or collect materials to make your own watering cans!
- Protect your soil from the wind: Water! – water your soil daily to keep the soil from blowing away. You do not need to water deeply, a quick shower is sufficient, but make sure to wet the entire surface!
If you have any question regarding any of these topics, please reach out to your Garden Educator.