Some parts of Minnesota have not even experienced frost yet, but with fall color starting to peak, there is no question that the gardening season will end soon. It’s time to rev up and do those fall gardening chores. So, from most important to less important, here are the 10 fall gardening chores you should do soon. (The first five are listed below, with the rest to come in tomorrow’s post.)
- Clean up any diseased plants. If you have time for only one fall garden chore, this is it. Any plants that have diseases or seem particularly bug infested should be dug up and removed from the garden. Do not compost them unless you have a pile that reaches very high temperatures. Toss them. If you grow fruit trees, be sure to remove all the spent fruit and other debris from beneath the tree.
- Weed. Weed. Weed. The old saying is that every weed you pull in the fall eliminates 10 weeds next spring. Fortunately, weeding is one of those jobs you can do a few minutes here, a few minutes there.
- Keep on watering. Just as it’s important to continue to weed as long as possible, watering is also vital, especially on any new plants. If you planted perennials, shrubs and especially trees in late summer or fall, continue to give them regular watering until the ground freezes. For new plantings, water is much more important than fertilizer.
- Cut back unsightly perennials. Some perennials look lovely with a dusting of snow and those can be left standing for winter interest. But other perennials (hostas, I’m talking about you) look dreadful once the frost hits. Remove these soggy messes from the garden and go for a clean look.
- Feed the soil. Particularly in your vegetable garden, where many of the plants are heavy nutrient users, it’s a good idea to add a layer of compost, some decomposed leaves or other organic matter. After you remove the spent plants, just add an inch or two of the good stuff to the top of the bed.
Tomorrow: Five more chores to do this fall.