How To Plan Your Spring Garden In The Fall
Caring for your tools, storage sheds and preparing the soil
No matter where you live, the cooling temperatures mean the end of the gardening season. Instead of waiting for the weather to warm up next year there is plenty you can do right now to prepare your garden for the spring.
Fall doesn’t mean it's time to pack up your garden and move inside. Even if you don’t plant any fall vegetables or flowers there is plenty you can do to get a jump start on spring. Set yourself up for success next season! Do you have a game plan for next year? How is your storage shed looking? Do you need to replace any equipment? Does your soil need nutrients? Your plate is plenty full!
If you are winding down your gardening for the season and don’t know what you can do during the fall and winter here are a few ways you can be productive and proactive for the next season.
Garden Bed Cleanup
When you have harvested your final vegetable or your last flower has bloomed your garden beds will now remain vacant until the next season. Before you walk away from your garden beds take the time to prepare them as best you can for next season.
Once you have finished with your garden beds make sure to thoroughly rake any debris or leaves from the soil. Also ensure you pull any and all remaining plants or weeds to make sure the beds are as clear as possible. Clearing out your garden beds now will save you time in the spring and protect the soil for future planting. You will still need to do a bit of cleaning come spring but your beds will be in much better condition.
Plant Early Bulbs
Depending on what you want to harvest next year you may want to start planting bulbs in the fall. Flowers like crocus, daffodils and tulips all require you to plant their bulbs in the fall so they are ready for an early spring bloom. If you want to try planting early spring flowers next year you have to plant them much earlier than you think!
Caption: The Pine Harbor Quivett Cape storage building.
Clean And Store Tools
Even if you don’t live somewhere with snow, cleaning and safely storing your tools is important in keeping them in the best condition. The fall is a great time to invest in a quality storage shed to have a clean, dry and safe place to store all of your outdoor essentials.
If you have a shed make sure that it is free from holes and rot to keep the moisture out. Before you store your tools make sure that you clean them thoroughly and make any necessary repairs. If you use any tools that require gas or electricity make sure that you have a safe place to store them.
Prepare The Soil
One of the best things you can do for your spring garden is to prepare the soil so it has all the nutrients your garden will need come spring. Once you have cleaned out your garden beds be sure to layer shredded tree leaves or compost into the soil and turn it in. During the colder months the leaves and compost will continue to break down and release nutrients into the soil.
If you have a larger space you may want to plant a cover crop to keep the soil in its best condition. Planting a cover crop like clover will add nutrients to the soil like a fertilizer while preserving the soil through moisture, snow and freezing.
Once you have stored all of your tools in your new shed, cleaned your garden beds and planted a cover crop it's time to start planning. Take the time to make a map of your garden or home area you plan on using for next year and mapping out what you want to plant and where. Fall is a great time to do some research to look at the growing season of certain plants and the sun and temperature progression of your area. Maybe you want to try out some new plants next year? This is the perfect time to make sure you are prepared for whatever your plan is next year.
Cold weather doesn’t mean you have to give up perfecting your garden. Use the time when the temperature goes down to give your garden beds and tools some much needed TLC. Don’t have a storage shed? Now is the time to install one to protect all of your tools and equipment. If you have ever thought about planting something new, this is the time to do your research to make it happen!