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Transitioning your garden for Fall

Transition Your Garden For Fall in 7 Steps

Transition Your Garden For Fall in 7 Steps

Getting yourself ready for the Fall is one thing. If you're cold, you wear a sweater, you switch from iced coffee to hot, and you keep your windows closed at night. But preparing your garden is another thing. Plants all have particular needs in transitional seasons and find themselves at all different stages of growth and change. As you pick out the last of some of your season's produce, there are some tasks that will help you to preserve, not only your plants, but your soil, and get you ready for the Winter and even set you up for success in the coming Spring. To be exact, we have 7 tasks for you to accomplish before the first frost of the season creeps up.

1. Transplant Herbs

Your herbs are sensitive to the cool mornings the season brings. To keep them from going limp, dig up your herbs and transplant them to indoor pots. Keep them in a cool, sunny spot and they will continue to produce new leaves indoors. 

Do this for basil, tarragon, oregano,  rosemary, thyme, parsley, and chives. You'll be happy to have them in the kitchen!

2. Harvest What's Left

There are some late-maturing warm-weather vegetables that will be ready to pick just in the nick of time before the frost approaches. Now is the time to pick the last of your tomatoes and beans, beets, squashes, sweet corn, okra, peas, and potatoes. 

In the cooler weather, these vegetable plants will likely be producing the last of their viable produce.

Fall harvest tomato plant with flower blossoms


If some of your tomatoes are still green, but you're hoping to expedite the ripening process before Fall really takes hold, there are two  ways to speed up the process! Firstly, pluck off young tomato blossoms. It's too late for them to become fruitful and in the meantime they are only taking energy away from the tomatoes that are currently maturing. Secondly, cutting the excess roots will help speed things along. Simply do this by using a shovel or hand trowel to dig into the roots about 8 inches around the base of the plant. 

Jar of flax seeds using seed saving technique

3. Save Perennial Flower Seeds

Now is the time to save seeds from self-pollinating/perennial flowers like marigolds, cosmos, sunflowers, sweet peas, and coneflowers. 

Saving seeds is simple. First, cut the flowers and harvest the seeds from the heads. Place the seeds on wax paper to dry for about a week. Now remove any excess husks or pods from the seeds and store them away in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. 

You'll be able to use these seeds next Spring by sowing them directly into the ground or by indoor seed starting. 

4. Compost Trimmings

While you're clearing out and cleaning up some of your garden plots, it's the perfect time to compost your trimmings to create a lively mixture for next season's planting.

Composting, on the surface, is a very simple process. It's just a matter of mixing together a combination of organic materials like plant trimmings, leaves, food scraps, etc. and letting nature do the rest. It is important however to maintain a balanced combination of what we'll call green and brown matter. 

Garden compost with garden trimmings


A general rule of thumb for a good mix is about two-thirds browns mixed with one-third greens. You'll know you have too many greens if your compost mixture is slimy. You'll know you have too many browns if your pile just sits there (this signifies a lack of nitrogen). You'll also want to regularly stir up the mixture by churning it up with a rake.

When the next planting season begins, you'll be able to use it by adding several inches of compost to the top of your garden bed. 

Clover cover crops for fall garden

5. Plant Cover Crops

When you're left with empty garden plots for the cool season, the lack of activity can put a hurting on your soil. It erodes, loses nutrients, and slows down it's microbiol activity. 

Cover crops are simply crops that grow short and compact and will offer your soil some protection during the off-season. Good cover crop varieties include as clover, buckwheat, and grasses such as annual ryegrass, and oats.

Sow these across your empty plots and they'll maintain good coverage until your soil is ready to take on vegetables again next year.

6. Plant Spring Bulbs

It may seem counter intuitive  to be planting new things in the garden just as you're meant to be winding things down, but many bulb varieties benefit from being planted early. Bulbs require some processing time before they can begin growing. Sowing bulbs like lilies, tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinth, star flowers, and crown imperial in the Fall will get them perfectly primed to bloom in the Spring. 

Your future self will be grateful when you get to see them blossom!

Planting tulip bulbs in Fall

Indoor container gardening from seed

7. Go Inside

Not everything must come to a halt for the year. You can simply move indoors. There are lots of plants that are very successful indoors, in containers, or can be grown hydroponically. 

Shop our Indoor Gardening collection for all the supplies you'll need to make an indoor oasis for your plants, from seed starting supplies to hydroponics and grow lights. 

Ferry-Morse Indoor gardening collection


Use this suite of supplies to create an indoor oasis for your plants, from indoor seed starting to grow lights and hydroponics.

Ferry-Morse indoor container friendly herb seeds collection


These herbs will grow happily indoors in containers, making them an extra easy and useful addition to your kitchen.

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