Fall is the time of year when it is natural for any gardener to be a little tired of pulling bindweed plants.  I hear you, enough with the weeding, farmers’ tan, snails, giant zucchini fruit, grasshoppers and split tomatoes!  But wait, before you take a temporary break from your garden, make sure you complete the following checklist of fall turn-down gardening tips – you’ll be glad you did come springtime!

  1. Make a map of your garden so you can remember where your plants grew this growing season. This is important as you plan your garden next year and rotate plants in the same family to a new section of your garden.Map of Meals Plus garden at Wheeler Farm
  1. Pull all your garden plants and toss them in your compost pile (if not diseased) or your green waste bin (if diseased). Weed seeds should also be thrown in your green waste bin.

Rotten tomatoes in a raised garden bed in the fall

  1. Add organic matter–mix 1 to 3 inches of well composted organic matter into your garden soil.finished compost
  1. Repair planting beds so minimal preparation work is necessary before spring planting.

Planting beds in fall covered with leaves

  1. Mulch tree leaves and add to compost pile (if not diseased) along with a couple cups of nitrogen fertilizer to speed up the composting rate.

Leaves on the ground in fall

  1. Plant garlic cloves in late September to November. See the USU Extension fact sheet Garlic in the Garden.

Garlic growing

  1. Plant a winter cover crop – like hairy vetch. See the USU Extension fact sheet Cover Crops for Utah Gardens.

cover crop

  1. Plant perennials! Visit your local nursery and save big on hardy perennial woody herb plants, like thyme, sage and oregano. If you are feeling adventurous, try planting a rhubarb plant too!Rhubarb red
  1. Save $$ –fall is a great time to save big on other types of woody fruit producing plants, like berries, grapes and fruit trees.

Thornless Blackberries

  1. Use a little nail polish to mark raspberry canes that fruited this year. You will need to cut fruited canes back to the ground in the early spring so it is easier to identify which ones fruited if they are marked.

Pruning tools on a table

  • Bonus tip – don’t forget to blow-out your irrigation lines before freezing temperatures hit!winterize sprinklers

Okay, done? – Great!  Now you can sit back, relax and start planning next years’ garden!

Sunflower head gone to seed