Fall Garden Clean Up in the Pacific Northwest

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Summer gardening is so fun and rewarding but let's not forget the upkeep for a great Spring next year. 

Let's Recap from 2016

2016's Summer Garden had some ups and downs.The tomatoes did not have a good year. I grew several varieties in my Garden Patch pots and 2…well 4 after my husband came home with some from a nice friend, in the ground. The ones in the pot were just horrible. Lots of tomatoes and lots of blossom end rot. I had forgotten to put my dolomite in the soil but next year they're all going in the ground. It's also time to replace the Garden Patch pots. They've done well but I've used them about 8 years now.

My onions did well but I think planting them near the zucchini wasn't a good idea. They got buried later in the season and I had to dig them out from under those big ol' leaves. I buy from Dixondale Farms and highly recommend them if you're looking for a good onions start supplier.

My zucchini did very well. I had 3 plants and more zucchini than I know (yes I still have some sitting on my counter) what to do with.  A friend gave me a zucchini relish recipe which I'll use next year. I have a freezer full of zucchini bread and we're having zucchini as a side dish tonight.

Swiss Chard did well. What can I say. Love that veggie! I would grow some now but I don't want to go outside in the rain. I might plant some on my porch in a box or something.

Peppers. Awful like the tomatoes. I got one. One. Only one. Uno.

Peas, radishes, and Beans did well but I planted them all too late.

Moved the blueberry bushes to a north facing spot on the east side of our fence and they're doing much better.

Our strawberries seem to prefer the rock formation we have going on out back. Even when things were dry they were taking off.

Flowers seem to be doing okay. I'm trying to get perennials in place. I'm still learning here so more to share next year. My husband bought bulbs… not sure where he's going with those.

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Fall Garden Cleanup Tips

Depending on where you live, fall can be a busy time in the garden. Here are some tips to tidy things up before the cold weather hits.

Color

Fall is such a beautiful time of year.  Let's add some of that color to your garden. Chrysanthemums (mums) come in a variety of yellows, bronzes, reds, and purples. I now have three in my front yard. One in the ground and two in pots. I purchased them all when they were very small, so very inexpensive.  And one of them is now the size of a large beach ball. He's about 3 yeas old. The others are only going into their first fall and area have grown nice and big also. Chrysanthemums are perennials so yaaay for not having to replant every year.  And yes buddy you can buy live chrysanthemum plants on Amazon (although I have not done this myself). So take into consideration that they will get bigger each year as you decide on their placement in your garden.

Get the Weeds before They Seed

Like that saying? Our yard is FULL of weeds. I weed ALL THE TIME! I have several weeding tools to get this job done without chemicals but one thing that would help (if I got past not wanting to go outside when it's cool) is that taking advantage of the fact that wet soil is easier to pull or hoe weeds out of than dry soil. Weeds go to seed in the Fall so using tools such as this one and this one can help you get through them quickly. You'll thank yourself next spring when the weeds are fewer.

Another way to control weeds in the fall is to lay down several layers of newspaper on your garden once the plants have died off. Anchor down the newspapers with rocks or soil and, by the time spring arrives, the weeds will have choked off (evil laugh here). The newspaper will decompose through the winter and then can be tilled into the ground to enrich it. Apply another layer in the spring before planting (poke holes in the newspaper layer to plant). Voila!

Get those Pests!

Be sure and remove the dead leaves and used up plants from your garden before winter sets in. Lots of invasive and yicky pests overwinter beneath leaves, boards, tools, and anything else left lying on the ground.

Then again some gardeners like to leave a layer of autumn leaves on their garden to act as a mulch and compost in one. So depending on what kind of pests you have in your area and how cold it gets, leaving the leaves may work for you.

Plant Bulbs

My husband has been fabulous about planting bulbs in our yard. Come spring we have a beautiful show that never fails to stop walkers. And I'm pretty sure he did this as a rank amateur. He was even surprised that they multiplied after the first year.

There are a variety of bulbs that need to be planted in the fall. Foodwise if you grow garlic plant it in the fall. Flowers like hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils are typically planted in the fall so they can complete their growth cycle in time to come up in spring.  

Trees and Shrubs

And finally Fall is a good time to prune back trees and shrubs, including shrub roses. It's also a good time to plant them. I'll be trimming a few blueberry bushes this fall. This is because in the fall, trees and shrubs are in a dormant state, and the planting and pruning are less shocking to them.

My Own Garden Clean Up

At our house this is what fall garden cleanup looks like.

I take everything out of our cute red shed (love that thing) and reorganize stuff. I also sweep the floor really well. I need to add some more shelving in there but that will happen in time. I have hung a few nails for hanging tools. Looks much better. I also  put away outdoor cushions and washed out pots.

I dig up all the spent summer product and stuff it in the compost bin.

And don't forget the weeding!

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Before
After
After
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How did you garden grow this summer? And what are your garden plans for Fall? For next year?

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