Is your Garden Ready for Fall?

 

 

The tail end of summer is one of the busiest seasons in the garden.   The slightly cooler weather gives the plants a burst of energy, with beautiful summer blooms, a bounty of vegetables, and unfortunately, weeds.   It is also the ideal time for planting fall perennials, spring bulbs, and get your garden ready for the cooler weather. 

 

Take a September  Stroll

 

September is the perfect time to reflect on the past growing season, including considering any changes you would like to make for the following year.  But, before you head to the garden centre, take a close look at your gardens and containers to help create that fall wish list. 

 

During your walk, take note of: 

 

  1. Which of the plants flourished and which needs to be replaced/moved? 
  2. Are there any plants that are overgrown? 
  3. Are there any gaps that need to be filled? 
  4. Which plants need to be separated or relocated?

 

Create two lists.  On the first one, write down any plants that need to be separated or relocated; now use the second list to write down any areas that need more plants.  

 

This strategy can help you quickly determine the plants that need to removed or separated, while also discovering the best spots for the new additions. 

 

Transition into Fall with a Summer Clean Up 

 

Fall is an opportunity to refresh your garden with stunning hues of gold, orange, and rust.  However before picking up your mums, pansies, and sunflowers, take the time to clean up the existing space. So, pull out those pruners, garden gloves, empty pots and compost bags and let’s get ready for fall. 

 

  1. Clear out the weeds. Make sure that the root is also removed to help prevent the weeds from returning. 
  2. Remove any straggly or dying annuals.  Take note of these empty spots, as these are ideal places for fall annuals and bulbs. 
  3. Prune any yellow or brown leaves and dead branches.  Removing the plants’ dead or dying  portion will allow it to focus its energy on new growth. 
  4. Gently remove and separate any overgrown perennials.  When removing these plants, it’s extremely important to gather all the roots to help ensure healthy growth in the new location.  
  5. Replenish the gardens with Garden Gallery Triple Mix and Compost to provide existing and new plants with a nutrient boost. 

 

Time to Harvest

 

Vegetable gardens are at their prime in the final weeks of summer.  With all of the harvest ripening at once, it can feel a little overwhelming.  However, don’t leave these ripe or near ripening vegetables on the plants.  Over-ripened vegetables will go to waste.  

 

What to do with the vegetable overflow: 

 

Get Canning 

Stock up your pantry with sauces, jams, and pickled vegetables.   Excess tomatoes can easily be converted into sauce or salsa.  While beets, cauliflowers, cucumbers, and beans are all great options for pickled vegetables.   

 

Freeze to Enjoy Fresh Produce into Fall

 

Instead of discarding the extra vegetables, freeze them.  Almost all vegetables can be preserved in the freezer.  Corns, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and squash all freeze well.   Although most vegetables can be frozen as is, some people prefer to blanch their vegetables to help retain both the colour and nutrients.   Beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and brussels sprouts should all be blanched before freezing. 

 

Blanching involves places vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes, and then immediately placing them into a cool ice bath.  

 

How to Blanch your Vegetables:

  1. Sort the vegetables by size to avoid overcooking. 
  2. Salt the boiling water well, approximately 1 and a half cups of salt to a gallon of water.  This high ration will prevent the flavour and vitamins from leaching into the water.
  3. Boil the vegetables for the recommended amount of blanching time. 
  4. Remove and immediately place them in an ice bath. This action is what will stop the cooking process and keep those nutrients in the vegetables.

 

Once the blanching process is done, dry the vegetables and arrange them on a baking sheet to freeze.  As soon as they are frozen, remove and place them in a freezer bag or airtight storage container.   

 

Donate

 

One of the best things about having your own vegetable garden is sharing your bounty with friends and family.   Put together a care package that includes fresh produce and a few canned items, so that others can enjoy the harvest into the fall and winter.   

 

 Prime the Garden for Spring 

 

Make life simpler next spring, by removing annual vegetables from the garden and pruning  perennial herbs.  The vegetable gardens are also the perfect location for spring bulbs, so why not plant a few tulips, daffodils, crocuses and irises in the freshly tilled soil.