Just because it's starting to get cold, doesn't mean your garden duties are coming to an end. Here are 5 things you need to do to your garden before Winter happens:
1. Plant Your Spring Bulbs
2. Prep Your Garden Beds For Next Year
As your veggie garden finishes up it's last harvest for the season, spend some time prepping the soil for next year: add your manure or compost, turn the soil, and clean out any dead plant pieces. I also add plant markers so I don't forget what's going to pop up where. Otherwise, herbs and perrenials will start sprouting next year and I'll forget what they are until they become recognizable in Summer.
3. Collect Seeds
If you're planning to save your seeds, don't forget to do it before they all blow away or freeze under the snow! I already collected seeds to save from my tomatoes, chives, and hot lemon peppers. This week I'm collecting the seeds from the pods that are forming on my morning glories.
4. Mulch! Don't Forget To Mulch!
I really think that mulching is the neglected child of the garden.
If you have trees, shrubs, or flower beds, cover the soil with mulch both now and in the Spring (and any time in between that the mulch spreads out or gets kicked away). It will keep your soil warm as the weather gets cold, which means that your plants will stay green longer into winter and you will win the unspoken neighborhood competition of who has the nicest yard. It will also block out any weed seeds that are blowing around, so when Spring comes, you'll have far fewer weeds sprouting in your flowerbeds.
FYI, when you mulch in the Spring, it stops the water and nutrients in the soil from evaporating in the hot sun. It also keeps unwanted "nutrients" out of the soil, such as dog urine and pigeon poo.
5. Stock Up On Discount Summer Supplies
My grandmother buys all of her Christmas wrapping paper at after-Christmas sales in January because it's super cheap and she can save it in the attic until next year. Why not use the same logic with garden supplies? Fertilizer, potting soil, garden tools, and seeds are all cheaper if you buy them in Fall and Winter, before most people are thinking about their Spring and Summer garden needs. If you buy discount seeds now, they will most likely keep well in the refrigerator until Spring.
Is there anything else you guys do to your gardens in the Fall?