Just what you want right? Even more things to do in the garden. I’m sure you have everything perfect. Everything is mulched to 2 inches high. Every weed is pulled and the gardens are in pristine condition! Not our garden, not even close! An extra long weekend is ahead which (unless you’ve been deluged with rain from Isaac) will give all of us gardeners a good opportunity to get a few things ready for fall. So what should we be doing in the garden to get ready for fall over this Labor Day weekend? Here’s a to do list!
A Labor Day Weekend Gardening To Do List
- Get those beds cleared up and ready! Pull out the old fading plants,
add mulch, and get those garden beds back into shape. Ragweed and
crabgrass are flowering now so get them pulled before they go to seed and
you will have fewer weeds to worry with next year. Keep the mulch
coming! 2 inches of mulch is what most people recommend but that depends
on what kind of mulch you’re using. Add a little bit more mulch to
replace what broke down over the summer.
- Get some seedlings started! If you haven’t started your seed yet it’s time to get moving on seed starting. Fall greens like cooler temperatures to get going so try to offer them some shade and keep them moist which will keep the soil temperatures down a bit.
- Start taking some cuttings of annual herbs like basil or ornamentals like coleus. Both can make great houseplants that can be put back outside in the spring. And who wouldn’t want fresh basil in January for some awesome tomato soup with tomatoes you canned from the garden!
- Speaking of canning…can can can! Save those veggies over the winter and you’ll think happy thoughts of your summer garden until spring comes around and you can grow again.
- The fall planting season is just beginning so it’s time to plan out any new additions for the fall. Shrubs and trees are what most people think of planting for fall but perennials are great to plant now. If you plant your perennials in the fall they will have a chance to set a larger root system before going dormant and you may even save a few dollars on fall plant sales!
- September is when to start sowing grass seed for cool season grasses. I overseed each year to add different varieties of grass to the lawn and fill in any areas that have died off. Expanding your garden areas to reduce the need to mow hard to mow areas is also a great option! Consider using native grasses to fill in hard to mow areas. There are even native grasses like Buffalo grass that can be used in lawns to replace non native grasses like fescue and Bermuda.
Red Clover Cover Crop
Use a cover crop! Cover crops are a genius idea that uses plants to protect and nourish the soil. Annual cover crops that die off are great to use in raised beds and perennial cover crops can easily be tilled into the soil or mowed down when it is time in the spring. As cover crops decay they put nutrients back into the soil for plants to use in the future. Some popular cover crops are clover, rye grass, oats, vetch, mustard and wheat.
- Harvest those garden vegetables! The more frequent you harvest the more you’ll vegetables will come. Prune the tomatoes to refresh them and you’ll continue getting tomatoes into October.
- Turn that compost pile. Turning the compost helps oxygen get into the bin which speeds up the composting process. Don’t forget to add a good balance of materials (green and brown) to keep things processing at maximum capacity! Also if it hasn’t rained in a while watering your compost bin will help to keep things active.
- It’s time to make a few new beds. Lasagna Gardening (link to Amazon.com)
(also called sheet composting) is a great way to go about making new beds. This time of year is perfect for a little lasagna gardening! Lay down alternating layers of green and brown organic materials. Starting with a layer of newspaper or cardboard will kill off the grass and weeds underneath and allows you to make a new bed without having to till. Pretty soon we’ll have lots of leaves falling from the trees – perfect for layers of brown or a nice mulch on top!
- Start cleaning out that garden shed, if you start now it might just be done before fall starts!
- Enjoy some time in the garden with that cooler fall weather. Winter will come before we know it and we’ll miss the growing season when its done!