My Fall Garden To Do List

comments (4) November 6th, 2009

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Gather all the free leaves you can find during fall.
Photo by Sugarfrizz under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Gather all the free leaves you can find during fall.


Photo by Sugarfrizz under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

This is the beginning of the revamping and reorganizing season. It doesn't feel as fun as the active growing season, but it's a time for stepping back and taking stock. Here's some of the things I have on my fall garden list for the month of November. I've already got my carrot and lettuce seeds planted, plus the potatoes have really taken off. So, time to start checking off the rest of my list.

1. Start an herb garden in the kitchen window. My favorites are basil, which I take from cuttings, and chives which I put on everything. I've already decided to make this a fall gardening project with my 4H kids this month.

2. Gather the billions of fallen leaves from the park behind my house. I'm not one to pass up an opportunity and these crispy fellows will make a wonderful addition to my compost sandwiches. I'm building new garden beds in rows on the back lawn. We're making compost sandwiches so they can sit there throughout the cold months. Compost sandwiches work their magic best when you alternate browns (carbon) and greens (nitrogen) and let them sit for several months. Instant garden beds!

3. Order hibernating Blue Mason bees (and their house) for the vegetable garden. Right now the Blue Mason bees are all walled up behind mud in their winter homes. If I put them in place now, come spring they'll wake up and have a pollinating-good-time in my yard and garden.

4. If there are vegetables still producing in the garden, I'll make row covers over the entire crop and milk them for all they're worth. One year, I just took PVC pipe and bent it over the garden beds, then secured them with little metal brackets into the wood bed frame. It looked like several half-hula-hoops bending over the garden. Then I took thick clear plastic and draped it over the PVC pipes.

I had big rocks pressing the plastic to the ground so the plastic didn't blow away. On nice days, I pulled open the plastic. That was the first year I realized that I could have lettuce all year long. Now I grow my winter lettuce in a cold frame, but the hoop houses work well, too.

5. Bring tender plants either into the greenhouse or my home for the winter. This year, most of them will head to the greenhouse as it'll be heated for the first time.

6. Look up new (at least new to me) gardening catalogs online. Don't get me wrong, the task doesn't stop there. I realize that it's straight-up un-PC of me but I'm old-school, folks and have to have these pups in my hands. While I do my share of online ordering, I'm a nutcase for perusing garden catalogs in a big, comfy chair with a mocha during the winter.

7. Don't forget it's tool time! I know, it's not the most exciting part of gardening. But one of the best gifts a gardener can give him/herself is properly cleaned and stored garden tools. After they've been cleaned or sharpened, place them inside the tool shed, not behind it or against the door.

Hmmm...what else am I missing? What's on your fall garden to do list?

posted in: fall garden, cold season gardening, things to do in fall in the garden

Comments (4)

vkwoodard writes: This is an article I wrote for the local paper a couple years ago about gardening in the fall...

I prepare the vegetable bed by rough rototilling it. The roughness will give it more surface area to dry out in the spring. Next I put down some old lumber I have to mark the direction the rows will go in the spring. I alternate between north/south and east/west as a kind of crop rotation. I mound up a row next to the lumber and rake in some compost. That row will be ready for peas in the spring and I will have a place to walk to plant!
Posted: 8:32 pm on November 16th
LVNMPermie writes: I just finished sheet mulching an area of my front yard this afternoon.

Sheet mulching is a fine way to improve soil quality and increase water retention while eliminating most pioneer plants.

The area I sheet mulched now has a pinon pine as its only feature. Come springtime, I will create a pinon-juniper guild there, with spreading juniper, artemisia absinthum, goji berry (chinese wolfberry) possibly some prairie clover to fix nitrogen, and alpine strawberries for groundcover.
Posted: 8:04 pm on November 15th
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: Ruth - I forgot the tool thing!! I HAVE to add that as it's part of my routine. Thanks, Ruth!
Posted: 3:26 pm on November 6th
Ruth writes: Here's a to-do list from Texas, Chris.
Posted: 3:12 pm on November 6th
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