Fall doesn’t mean the end of gardening. You can go for round two and plant a fall vegetable garden. Here are some vegetables for a fall garden. However, before you dive right into fall planting, there is some prep work to do. It’s either going to be a little or a little more, depending on what you did over the summer.

Is your summer garden “clean-shaven”? Have you kept it weeded and removed diseased or dead plants? If so, you won’t have much prep to do for fall planting. Just clear out what is left, mix in a bit of compost and plant away. However, if your summer garden could use some TLC, you have a bit of work to do. It’s not that bad though, so roll up your sleeves and let’s begin!

  1. Clean Up. If you’re summer garden is in good shape, most of this is already done.
    • Make sure you kill the weeds. This includes those hidden by other plants. You should do this before the weeds go to seed.
    • Remove plants that are no longer producing edibles. Early-planted crops such as beans, cucumbers and lettuce are done for the season. They’re using up water and may be home to a host of pests and diseases. Bag and trash diseased plants then you can compost the rest. Let peppers and tomatoes ripen and remove the plants later.
    • Pick up fallen fruits. If the plant has dropped any fruits, pick them up before they rot. Rotten fruit can attract pests.
    • Keep track of where your last crop was planted, so you can rotate your crops each season.
  2. Maximize the Mulch. At this point in the growing season, a lot of your mulch will have already decomposed. Freshen your garden soil by moving the existing mulch. If some of it is still good, simply add more.
  3. Loosen the Soil. Your garden soil has already put in a whole growing season. You may need to give it some attention before planting your fall garden. Turn any compacted soil with a pitchfork. You won’t need a tiller for this job. Your goal is to loosen the soil just enough to let the new plants take root.
  4. Amend the Soil. Fall is the perfect time to test your soil. This tells you which amendments would be best for your soil.
    • For a really healthy garden, mix in some pre-bagged soils such as a quality garden mix and Agrowinn Organic Worm Castings.
    • We highly recommend adding a slow-acting organic fertilizer when you loosen the soil. We suggest Agrowinn Rock Dust Minerals.Your garden will thrive.
    • Refresh your soil with compost. Plan your garden so you’ll know where the plants will go. That’s where you want to apply the compost. You can either work it into the soil when you loosen it or you can apply the compost as a top dressing.
    • Rake out your soil after you’re done adding amendments. This evens the soil surface as well as breaking up clumps. It also makes furrows to hold water.
  5. Winterize: If you want to install frost protection, now is the time. Put cold frames or hoop cover structures in place. That way, it’s done before you plant and installing them won’t damage your plants and their roots. Of course, you want to hold off on putting the actual covers in place.