Just because the growing season is winding down, doesn’t mean that the gardening season is over. There are plenty of this that can be done to stretch that gardening itch in the fall and winter.
This to do list is tailored for my Zone 6 garden but you can easily modify for your zone as well. You can find my suggestions for modifications at the end of this post.
Start moving tender herbs and plants inside
I plan to keep basil, stevia, rosemary and aloe inside throughout the winter. The basil and stevia needs to come in once nighttime temps reach 35-40F. The rosemary can handle 20-25F (Note: “Hill Hardy” or “Madeline Hill” Rosemary is hardy in Zone 6 and can stay outside all winter, other varieties are available for cooler zones as well)
Plant a few more winter hardy veggies
I plan to plant some more spinach, kale, lettuce, arugula and green onions one last time. With row covers and/or cold frames as few more things can be added. Check out my post on frost hardiness for more info.
Replenish nutrients in soil with compost
In the springtime right when my garden soil is thawing, the soil under the roads is thawing too and road restrictions are put in place. This means, I can’t get bulk compost brought to my house! So I do it in the fall.
There are many good reasons to add compost in the fall. It allows to nutrients to become fully available for plants in the fall as the compost continues to break down. In some winter rainy areas (I’m talking to you Northwest Coast), nutrients can be lost due to rain. But you compost could be added later in the year instead in these areas.
Plant Garlic, just after first frost
Make sure you amend the soil properly with lost of compost for the garlic and mulch to protect the little babies. Here’s some good info on growing garlic.
This year, I’m gonna try and plant some winter onions as well. I’ll plant some seeds and mulch heavily a couple weeks after the first frost and see what comes up in springtime. I’ll be sure to post the results.
Shred your fall litter and add to garden. The leaves will compost by springtime, adding nutrients to the soil. I’ve heard that lawn mowers are pretty good at shredding the leaves
My place has very few deciduous trees around, so I just what few leaves fall for the forest floor.
Build Raised Beds
Since the growing season is winding down, it’s a good time to start planning for next year. You can also do other garden projects such as:
- putting up fencing
- building trellises, stakes, and tomato cages
Put up a bird feeder
It helps birds get through the winter. Birds can be useful for controlling pests around the garden. Just be sure to take it down once springtime mating season starts. Studies show that some birds may spend more time guarding their feeder than getting a mate. It would be pretty easy to build one yourself, but this Audubon Bird Feeder has been on my wish list for a while now.
Garden Planning and Inventory
It’s a good idea to get organized for next year, spring is coming soon, I promise. Considering that I purchase seeds in January, it’s good to know what I have and what I need.
I got a little excited and have already started planning next years’ garden.
Garden 2016 Layout Draft
After you’ve taken inventory, organize your seeds. Either a shoebox or or hanging file folder tote with labels would work well. I’ve been thinking a utility tote like this one would work great.
More Garden Projects
It’s the perfect to build raised beds and other garden projects.
Maybe a DIY bird bath would be a good idea.
What are your plans for the fall and winter in the garden?
Suggestions for Different Plant Zones:
Zone 4 – Do these a month earlier or so
Zone 5 – Do these two weeks or so earlier
Zone 7 = Do these two weeks or so later
Zone 8 – Do these a month earlier or so
Zone 3 and Below or Zone 9 and Above – Rodale’s has some great suggestions for you.