This post will help you create the to-do list for your fall garden planting.
Fall Garden Planting: welcoming winter through September To-Do’s
It’s time to prepare for your fall garden planting. I know, it’s crazy. The Sun is still fairly high in the afternoon sky. Sunset is still after 7pm. Daytime temperatures are often in the 80s, sometimes 90s. But, people, trust me – Winter is coming!
In rural areas, you are a month away from the first frost of the season. Urban and suburban gardens need to be prepared for shorter days and busy schedules. The frost, even though it will be later, will catch you off guard without planning, preparing, and planting.
Here are links to my recommended September garden tools. These are affiliate links that help support the blog.
Let’s welcome winter with our September garden plantings!
Putting some beds to rest for the fall and winter…
We’ll begin our to-do list by looking at garden beds that will be dormant this winter.
If you have raised beds that are not carrying a winter crop, you need to weed them and cover them for the offseason. The options for covering them are various and flexible depending on how much time you have:
- Straw: you can simply get straw from your local farm supply or landscaping store and layer about 4-6 inches of straw over the bed. The upside of this method is that it is fast and composts down quickly. The downside is that straw has become increasingly contaminated with seed and you may have a weed problem come May.
- Mulched Leaves: once the garden bed is cleaned up add mulched autumn leaves as cover. When you mow the fallen leaves in your yard, bundle them up and layer the leaf mulched leaves over your beds as high as possible. I love this method because the leaves compost down nicely by spring. They also are much less likely to compound your weed issues than using the straw.
- Layered Mulching: this is a very labor intensive method, but well worth the effort if you have beds that are particularly weedy, or have been depleted of nutrients from a more demanding crop like tomatoes. This method is also called making lasagna beds because of the way the gardener layers compostable materials to cover the bed, like making lasagna! We weed and then place a layer of cardboard over the soil, about a half inch thick. Then we add a layer of folded newspaper, straw, and wood chips as additional layers. This, too, will compost down nicely over the winter leaving you with a nutrient-rich, often weed-free, no-till bed for spring planting. Obviously, I’m a big fan!
Our kitchen garden has several new beds that will grow veggies for us all winter. I have a few beds that need a serious infusion of nutrients, so I’m going to add organic compost and cover them with leaf mulch.
Now, let’s get on with fall garden planting!
Get the last of your winter crops in the ground and cover them with agribon. As mentioned in many previous posts, agribon is a spun, lightweight fabric that functions as both frost and pest protection. If you are in a time pinch, you can layer the agribon directly over such winter crops as spinach, lettuce, arugula, and radishes. You’ll want to place low hoops over beds that will cover winter crops such as kale, carrots, Swiss chard so that the plants have room to grow without the weight of the fabric. Check out this slideshow from Grit magazine for examples and ideas.
Make sure you have sourced your garlic and prepared a bed for planting it. We’ll be planting garlic in next month’s task list, after the first frost. While selecting your garlic, add shallots to the order. Plant both in October, after the first frost.
Be sure to download the Perrenial and Overwintering Crop Guide from the resource library. Sign up here to access the FREE download!
This lettuce will last until spring. What a way to welcome winter, by planting a crop like this!
Welcome winter this September by mowing and trimming your lawn areas!
Mow and trim your yard or garden area, remove all debris and seed heads. This will help with your weed and bug issues come spring. Remember to move (burn) those wood piles because that’s where the squash bugs will overwinter and lay their eggs in the spring.
If you have an indoor grow area, you might want to get set up for growing microgreens. Here is Johnny’s Seed video that I found quite instructive when starting them last year. I recommend starting with micro-kale. It is easy and very tasty.
Plan your month around the weather to get on top of your garden in September, and begin the work of welcoming winter. Not only will you have more time next month to do some leaf peeping, you’ll have an easier time with weeds and pests next spring.
More September projects to be ready for winter ~
Here’s a reminder of what you should have done in August.
We’re focusing on pickling peppers as our seasonal eating project in September. Why not just take the FREE 5-Day Food Preservation Bootcamp?!? You can learn about Wise Food Storage and basic food preservation in this post.
By the way, September holds the first day of fall. Here’s a post about the Autumnal Equinox. Enjoy!
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