With Labor Day rapidly approaching, I’m ready to say goodbye to summer’s heat. Especially this year. It’s been stubbornly hot on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But now, with cooler weather insight, it’s time to clean the annual beds and thin the overgrown perennials. So here’s my to-do list of fall garden projects to get you in the mood for fall gardening.
Know your First Frost dates. Timing your projects is critical. For instance, fall planting in northern zones 1 or 2, where first frost comes early, may not even be possible. Succession planting may be the best alternative.
*Farmer’s Almanac has a handy Frost Date Calculator that let’s you test by state. click here
Plant cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, greens, collards, broccoli, sweet peas, for late fall harvesting.
Plant cool weather flowers such as pansies, violets, snapdragons and mums to add a pop of color until the first frost.
Bring in the house plants. Hibiscus and palms can die back at 40 degrees.
Trim trees and shrubs of dead branches and leaves and inspect them for disease or insect damage. If apparent, contact your county extension agent or Master Gardeners for advice.
Plant trees and shrubs. You’ll be happy come springs.
Divide plants and bulbs. Store tender bulbs in a cool area.
Clean garden tools. Sharpen the lawn mower blades. Restring the edge-trimmer. Discard any old or worn-out tools. Yes, it may be difficult, but there’s nothing worse than having your favorite tool break-down when your creating a new spring project.
Start a compost bin, since you’re cleaning. Use only disease free litter.
Put the annual beds to rest. Pull out all the plants and harvest the seeds for next years gardens.
Get out the Green Manure: Yep, plant clover, alfalfa or winter wheat to fertilize your soil.