Fall is fast approaching, and that means the leaves will be turning and it will be time to plant a garden for the fall season. There's no better time to clean up and prepare for the next gardening season than at the end of summer, whether you're growing vegetables, flowers or houseplants.
You can prepare your container garden for fall by following these tips:
1. Sort through your summer plants
During summer, you probably planted some seeds that are still sprouting and yielding fruits. You don’t want to just trash them in your prep for fall, instead, transition summer plants into the next season and plan new plants for fall.
Start by identifying the plants that will survive the next season and moving them indoors or covering them with a tarp to protect them from harsher weather conditions. Before you do that, make sure to harvest vegetables and fruits that are ready for consumption and storage, and harvest seeds for replanting.
Next, let go of the plants that have already started to dry up and die, or have finished yielding fruits or flowers. You can pull them up for the compost pile, and make more room in your garden space for fall plants.
Perennials need trimming and pruning, and sections that are dead or dying need to be removed. You can repot or transplant perennials that are still in the nursery stage.
2. Empty and clean out your containers
The next task is to clean out empty garden containers and pots. After harvesting and taking seeds from viable plants, uproot them for the compost bin. Good soil can be dumped into a separate bag for used soil to be repurposed in the garden.
Wash your containers with soap and warm water and air dry them. Dry terracotta pots in the shade to prevent cracks from the hot sun.
3. Prepare your soil mix
To prepare new soil for the next planting season, you can either use the soil you saved up from summer or buy (or make) a new soil mix. garden soil should be aerated and light enough to let roots spread, and also heavy enough to hold compost and enough water for the plants. Mix in your old gardening soil with compost, soil additives and organic soil mixes to create rich soil for planting in fall.
You can also bury organic materials like kitchen waste in raised garden beds at least 6 weeks before fall planting. Make sure to break them into smaller pieces before burying them.
4. Preparing Your Container Garden for Fall
It is never too early to start planning your next garden and arranging your containers for planting. This is the time to decide what veggies or fruits do well in the fall in your area, and explore adding artificial garden aids like grow lights and elevated planters to boost your plants’ growth.
BONUS: Plant ideas for fall
Fall is a season to explore variety and be super creative with your container garden. These are a few pointers to guide your fall choices for your container garden:
● Shrubs and evergreens: These grow exceptionally in fall and adds a calm feel to your garden. Try verbena, knockout roses, laurel, forsythia.
● Fall veggies: is it your goal to consume from your garden? Then you should consider adding pumpkins, broccoli, winter squash, cabbage, kale, turnips to your garden.
● Bulbs: In the fall, plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring: like hyacinths, crocus, buttercup, lilies and tulips.
● Colorful foliage: Add these plants to the mix for a fall-colored garden: oxalis, burning bush, pumpkins, garden mums and pansies.
Still undecided? Then try mixing up different types of plants as you're preparing your container garden for fall. A container garden gives you the freedom to experiment with different styles.