Tips for Closing Your Summer Garden
As August flows into September, it’s time to start thinking about fall. As a gardener, this can be an exciting but busy time! With the seasons transitioning, it’s time to think about the steps for properly closing out your summer garden. These tips for closing your Summer Garden will help you prepare for next year and set you up for success!
Steps for Your Summer Close Out
If you want to set yourself up for a simpler spring planting season, there are some steps you need to take now! While it’s hot out, you may be wanting to take some time off but now it’s the time to sit back and relax. Take these steps now and your future self will thank you.
Weeding and Deadheading
Weeds tend to become a large issue in August because they’re able to grow well in the hot, humid weather many of us experience in the late summer. Taking the time to weed your garden regularly helps the appearance of your garden now but also helps deter new weeds from growing next spring! When you stay on top of weeding, it becomes a more manageable part of your gardening experience!
It’s also important to begin deadheading your garden at this point. This is the act of taking off any old flowers on your plants so the new, healthy ones can continue to grow. This process helps keep your plants healthy and growing in a manageable way!
Handling Diseased Plants
If you’ve got some plants in your garden that have become diseased over the growing season, it’s crucial to dispose of them properly. The best way to do this is to pull them up completely and then burn them. Don’t use diseased plants in your compost as it can spread the disease, causing a larger breakout in your garden.
It can be tempting to leave these plants until the fall frost kills them but that’s not the right way to handle them. Pulling and burning them allows you to get the disease out of your garden in a quick and controlled manner.
Harvest and Clear Out Your Space
The best part of this time of year is harvesting the vegetables that you’ve been growing for the past few months. You may notice that when you harvest plants that grow above ground, they’ll begin flowering and may produce a few more vegetables. This is why it’s important to deadhead and remove any parts of the plant that aren’t performing well.
Likewise, when you begin harvesting your root vegetables, it allows the ones left in the ground to grow larger due to the extra space! For this reason, it’s best to harvest in a gradual process rather than pulling everything all at once.
When you’re clearing space in your garden, it’s important to fill in the open spaces that you leave behind. If you leave the area open over the winter, you’re inviting pests and weeds to come and take over the space. This will make your spring gardening experience much harder than it needs to be.
When filling in the empty spaces, you have a few different options. You can simply fill in the space with mulch, use cover crops, or even plant some fall plants! If you choose a cover crop, use something like buckwheat or ryegrass to have something growing in your garden.
Make Your Compost
Late summer is a perfect time to start composting if you haven’t yet. Making a compost pile takes about a weekend to get started and then becomes a great tool to use in your garden. Your compost can consist of rotten vegetables, leaves, used coffee grounds, and other plant scraps. Once you’ve created your compost mulch, you can spread it in your garden, allowing it to enrich the soil ahead of next spring.
Plan Ahead When You are Closing Your Summer Garden
At the end of the season, you want to take some time to consider what worked in your garden this year and what didn’t. Make sure to take notes on the names of plants you enjoyed as well as the ones that didn’t work for you. This will let you save time when spring comes around and you’re planning your garden layout for the new growing season.
Your notes can also include things like successful pest control options, the layout of your garden, and other details to make next spring easier for you.
Consider Planting Fall Vegetables
If you’re in an area that allows for it, now is a great time to begin planting fall vegetables as well. Southern states usually have the best climate that will allow you to extend your growing season if you’re interested, but there are options in the northern states, as well. If you’d like to plant fall vegetables, check out these tips.
Plant at the Right Time
Fall planting takes some extra precautions when timing out your harvest. You need to know your typical date of first frost and the amount of time each plant takes to grow. With this information, count back to see when you need to plant the seeds to harvest your plants before you get a frost.
These times will vary based on where you live so it’s important to figure out information based on your climate and not just averages.
Consider Starting Indoors
Since most fall vegetables need to be planted in August, the high heat and humidity can hurt the small plants. For this reason, it’s often best to start your fall vegetables inside and then transfer them to your outdoor garden when they’re between three and six weeks old. When they reach this age, choose an overcast day and plant them so they can be eased into the outdoor environment.
Plant These Veggies
Certain vegetables grow best for fall harvesting. If you’re wanting to extend your growing season, consider growing these plants:
- Arugula – ready in four weeks
- Brussels sprouts – ready in three to six months
- Broccoli – ready in 70 to 100 days
- Beans – ready in 50 to 90 days, depending on the type
The Takeaway from Tips to Close Your Summer Garden
While you may not love being outside in the summer heat, it’s essential to take some time to close out your summer garden properly. Of course, if you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to the growing season, consider planting some fall vegetables now as well. Taking the time now will help you have a much easier spring planting season.