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Fall Gardening: What You Can Do Right Now
Shaina Olmanson

As the weather cools, it's important not to forget about your garden. Now is the time to finish the harvest, put food up for the colder months and get ready for the growing season to come. So often people just abandon their growing efforts late in the season, figuring they are done, but a little preparation now will go a long way in the spring.

Here are a few things you can do for your garden in the fall:


Divide and split plants that have outgrown their space about 4 weeks before the frost date in your area to give the plant time to send roots down before it gets too cold for them to do so. Cut back dead foliage, leaving the basal crown on plants like Shasta daisies and down to the ground for herbaceous plants like hostas and daylilies where all the above-ground foliage dies during the winter. I like to leave my hydrangea flowers up after they've browned and dried to catch the snow. It adds some visual appeal to that part of my garden even after the snowfall.


Cut foliage and leaves can be added to your compost pile before the frost to break down to use as fertilizer come spring. You can also spread compost on your strawberry plants in the fall after the harvest is over.

Turn the Soil

After you've harvested all your plants, pulled up dead ones to compost and have an empty garden bed, fall is the perfect time to turn the soil. Turning the soil will mix the nutrients and get the ground ready for spring planting.

Plant Seeds

You can plant some reseeding perennials in the fall so that they come up in the early spring. There are fantastic online resources to help you decide which seeds can or should be planted now so that you are enjoying them as soon as possible. You could also try your hand at having a winter garden as well, planting seeds now and growing them in the winter. Your ability to do this will depend on your geographical area and climate, but it can be very rewarding to have winter carrots and leeks to cook with.