I always hate to see fall come, even though I love the clear blue skies and brisk fall winds. It’s not the approach of winter that disturbs me. Saying farewell to the summer garden is what causes me pain. Making the transition is never easy, but you can soften the blow by taking loving care of that garden as you put it to bed for its long winter’s sleep.
Remove Plant Debris
Removing plant material from the garden bed and surrounding area prevents nasty insects from making it their winter home. Take the time to get rid of stray weeds around the bed, old plant material, and dying foliage now, and you’ll be glad you did in when spring rolls around.
Put Garden Supplies Away
If you are anything like me, you might delay this task out of fear that you will still need them, but the truth is that you probably won’t. Even if you do, you can take an item or two out of storage if you really need to. Look around your gardening area and put away all items that you are no longer using.
Throw Away Damaged or Unnecessary Items
Now is the time to inspect your plant pots for signs of damage and throw away cracked or weathered pots. Do you really need to keep every pot you’ve ever owned stacked in the corner? If you haven’t reused them yet, now is a good time to let them go. Remember, you’ll get more next year when you purchase new plants. Look around for other broken or useless items — including that broken bird feeder you intend to fix someday — and get rid of them now instead of storing them for another winter.
Clean Old Plant Pots
We all know that the experts tell us to wash and sterilize old plant pots before we reuse them, but many of us are guilty of grabbing that empty pot and using it when the need arises. By washing and sterilizing your old plant pots now, they will be free of nasty pathogens in the spring. Scrub old plant pots in soapy water to remove soil from the surface. Rinse away the soapy residue and put them to soak in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Allow them to set for 10 to 15 minutes, then set them out to air dry. Store cleaned pots stacked on shelves or cover them with plastic bags so they’ll be ready when you are next spring.
Completing fall gardening tasks might not make saying goodbye to your summer garden any easier, but it will prepare you for the joy of a new garden in the spring.