When your bountiful harvest starts to taper off and your garden begins to wither away, the “fun” part of gardening is pretty much at an end. But that doesn’t mean you should hang up your gardening gloves for the year—not yet anyway!
It’s not the most exciting work, but end-of-season gardening chores represent an important phase in your garden. In fact, what you do in the fall will have a direct impact on how your garden bounces back in the spring!
Here are 6 gardening chores you should do in the next few weeks to ensure that your garden is in great shape next spring!
6 End-Of-Season Gardening Chores To Do Before Winter Arrives
1. Clean Up
- Pull Annuals. After the first frost, pull up your dead annuals and add them to the compost pile (or trash them if there are signs of disease). This part can be a little heartbreaking, but they need to go eventually!
- Cut Back Perennials. After the first frost, cut back your perennials. Timing is particularly important here, because you don’t want to encourage new growth that will just end up getting killed by frost later on.
- Weed Your Beds. We’ve all had more than our fill of weeding at this point, but it’s important to do it one last time before the snow flies. One more round of weeding will make it harder for those weeds to grow back come springtime!
2. Save Your Favorites
- Save Seeds. Collect and dry seeds so that you can plant them next year. (Learn how to save seeds here.) If you end up with a good amount of usable seeds, consider donating some of them to a local seed library!
- Bring Herbs Inside. Not ready to say goodbye to your herb garden? Pot those herbs and bring them inside for the winter! Herbs like chives, oregano, rosemary, and thyme typically do pretty well indoors.
- Dry Flowers. You can collect bunches of your favorite flowers and herbs and dry them as a way to preserve them. Just tie the stems together with twine to form a loose bundle, then hang it upside-down in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- Store Potatoes. Potatoes can stay in the ground for a long time, but you want to dig them up before they get too buried in snow! After harvesting, potatoes can last 4-9 months if you store them properly!
3. Store Things Away
- Put Away Pots. Empty and clean all your pots, containers, cages, and garden ornaments. Store them in your garage or shed upside-down to keep them safe throughout the winter months.
- Empty Fuel Tanks. Before you put your lawn mower, string trimmer, and other power tools away for the season, be sure to empty any fuel out of the tanks. And consult your owner’s manuals to make sure you don’t skip other important end-of-the-season maintenance.
- Drain Hoses. Drag your garden hoses over a railing to make sure all the water comes out, then wrap them up and store them away.
- Clean Garden Tools. Lastly, don’t forget to clean your hand tools before storing them. (Check out this post for a simple hack that accomplishes both tasks at once!)
4. Improve Your Soil
- Prevent Pests. If you’ve had problems with pests in your soil this season, tilling your soil can help expose and kill them. Add a layer of compost over the top of your soil and gently till it to expose insects preparing to overwinter.
- Cover Compost. Make sure to protect your compost before the snow flies! Cover it with a tarp or a layer of straw to keep it dry so that it’s ready to use next spring.
5. Care For The Lawn
- Keep Mowing. Continue mowing your lawn until the grass stops growing for the year. This will ensure that your grass is sufficiently short when the snow starts piling up, which will help you avoid brown patches in the spring.
- Rake Leaves. Leaves are one of the most valuable things you can add to your compost pile! Rake them up from your grass and turn them into your compost in layers.
6. Prepare For Next Year
- Plant For Overwintering. Once you’ve cleared out your annuals from your garden, don’t forget to plant anything you want to overwinter! Bulbs, onions, and garlic are all great candidates for overwintering. (Learn more about overwintering here.)
- Review & Take Notes. Take a few minutes to jot down some notes about your garden performance over the past season. If something could have used more sun, or you wish you’d planted more of something, take note of it. If you write it down now, you’ll be able to reference those notes before you plant next spring!
Do you do any end-of-season gardening chores that aren’t mentioned here?