So, fall is quickly approaching and it seems that the garden is finishing up. But there are plenty of things you can do to enjoy your time outside as well as make next year's garden even better.
First, keep enjoying the harvest for as long as you can! Many things are still ripening and I think you should stretch that out as long as possible!
You can start planning for next year and making things ready for you then. After you are done harvesting veggies, you can turn the soil over or till it under for next year. There are also crops that you can grow as "green manure". They protect the soil from erosion as well as provide compost in the spring. They can also help you in the never-ending battle with weeds! You can plant several types of vetches, peas, clovers and other crops and then till it under in the spring. The plants can add nutrients back into the soil. Several of the options help fix the nitrogen that is already in the soil and make it more available to other plants. Fall and Winter are great times to start thinking about what you want to do in the Spring. You can evaluate the things that went well or poorly and think about what to do about it!
Fall is also a great time to plant perennials! The weather is cooler and they will have a chance to really get their roots growing. Then, as soon as the snow melts and things start to warm up, those plants are ready to go! Plus, in the fall, many greenhouses are trying to thin out their supply of plants, so they have huge clearances in the fall! We have gotten some really great deals in the fall!
As I said in my last post, spring bulbs need to be planted now. Also, pansies will do better if you plant them in the fall. They thrive in cooler weather and I actually have seen some flower if the snow comes off of them at all! (Pansies are even edible, but that is for another post!)
You can also spend some time dividing perennials in the fall. They will have the same advantages as any plant you choose to put in in the fall and many of them need to be divided every few years to stay vigorous.
So, don't pack everything up for Spring. There is plenty to do in the garden in the fall. It's even cooler and more comfortable weather!