Before calling this growing season quits, we need to clean up the garden and do what it takes to get it properly tucked in for winter — and a strong recovery next spring.
The mild weekend ahead offers a chance to get outside and enjoy working in the yard one last time. Here’s a checklist of end-of-season gardening chores.
• Time to harvest the last crop of root vegetables — get those radishes, turnips, beets and carrots out of the ground.
• By now, all of your tomato plants should be in a warm, sheltered place if they are still bearing fruit.
Flowers and herbs
• For outdoor fall color, rely on cool season plants — pansies, violas and kale.
• Annual herbs can grow indoors in containers as long as they have not been damaged by frost or freeze. Sage, basil, parsley, stevia and tea can all be grown indoors during the winter.
• Leave hardy herbs, such as chives, mint and oregano, in the ground as they should come back next year.
Garden clean-up, composting
• Leave some plants that provide winter food for birds and other wildlife — leave sunflowers, Echinacea and ornamental grasses.
• Pick up all dead fruit and veggies from the ground.
• When cleaning up garden debris, make sure to check for insects and/or fungus before adding to the compost pile.
• Do compost leaves, grass clippings, straw, non-diseased plant debris and weeds if they have not gone to seed.
• Avoid composting any plants which are diseased. Because tomato plants often carry diseases, some gardeners avoid composting them altogether.
• Finally, add mulch over the garden to maintain soil quality. Add straw, a fresh layer of compost or use grass clippings from the final lawn mowing.
With the blanket of mulch, your garden is tucked in for its long winter’s nap. Say “Goodnight,” and look forward to spring!
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.