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Top 10 Fall gardening tasks

Andrew Norton

Well, kids have gone back to school and the air is decidedly cooler. Hints of color are appearing in the tops of trees and our garden's production is slowing down once more. About the only plants still producing in our garden are our zucchini plant and tomato plants. The garden was, like summer, fun while it lasted. Now the fall cleanup and maintenance must begin to ensure another great gardening season for next year.

With that in mind, I have compiled a Top 10 list of things you should do for your garden this fall.

  1. Now is a good time to start planting perennials and spring bulbs.
  2. If you do not have a compost pile, get one started with the leaves you rake out of your yard. I do this every fall and then add coffee grounds and other vegetable waste throughout the year for a wonderful loamy soil that can then be added to our raised beds.
  3. Till up your soil and mulch it for the winter (again, another good use of leaves).
  4. Now is the time of year to divide your perennials and move them if you so desire.
  5. Have your soil tested and perform whatever recommendations are made.
  6. Add compost (if you have already been composting all summer) to your various beds.
  7. Encourage your existing pumpkins, melons, and gourds to ripen up before frost by pinching off existing blossoms and the ends of vines.
  8. When the daily temperature no longer makes it up to 65 it is time to pick your green tomatoes, wrap them in newspaper, and let them ripen indoors.
  9. Pull up your no longer producing vegetable plants. This helps prevent disease and insects.
  10. Put your strawberries to bed for the winter in November by mulching them with straw. The best time for this is after a few hard frosts have caused the leaves of the berry plants to lie flat.

There you have it. With all of the maintenance you need to do in your garden this fall, you will be gardening well into November.