Have you started thinking about what needs to be done in the garden as we get closer to fall, and before the first frost of the season? Here are 8 ways you can start preparing the summer garden to transition to fall.
Updated: August 6, 2022
Are you thinking about fall yet?
August is such a strange time of year. I’m noticing that there are two distinct teams out there…team summer and team fall. Which one are you?
I think I’m somewhere in the middle.
I’m still enjoying and experiencing all that summer has to offer but am definitely starting the hunt for new fall decor ideas and inspiration.
This is the time of year when I start to feel a bit lazy. There’s been a lot of work done in the cottage garden and cut flower garden since the beginning of the year.
Here’s a little look at this year’s cut flower garden timeline…
- December – finalized 2022 gardening plan
- January and February – sowed seeds in the greenhouse
- March and April – prepared the garden beds for transplanting
- April – Hardened off the seedlings
- May – transplanted seedings to the raised beds
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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.
How to Prepare Your Summer Garden for Fall
It’s almost time to start preparing your summer garden for the fall transition. Here are some of the ways you can get started.
1. Continue to Keep Weeds Under Control
Keep the weeds at a minimum through the fall season. They can steal water and nutrients from other plants in your garden.
Keeping your beds mulched will certainly help with weed control by helping to suppress weeds by blocking sunlight from the soil.
2. Deadhead and Cut Back Annuals and Perennials
Any spent blooms should be deadheaded. Removing the dead flower heads from a plant will encourage growth by putting more energy into blooms for the remainder of summer.
Deadheading also helps to eliminate areas for insects and diseases to overwinter.
3. Add Mulch or Leaves to Your Garden Beds
Mulching your garden beds this time of year will help to block weeds, maintain moisture, insulate the soil and add organic matter to the soil for a healthier garden in the spring.
Spread a 2-3 inch thick layer of mulch in your flower beds. This process will also help prolong the growing season and will allow your fall garden to flourish.
Leaves make a great substitute for mulch and have many of the same benefits as mulch. As the leaves break down, they’ll add nutrients to the soil.
4. Replace Summer Annuals With Fall-Friendly Options
Remove summer annuals once their blooms are spent. For uninterrupted color and interest, plant fall friendly-flowers such as pansies, verbena, mums, cabbages, and flowering kale in their place.
Bring herbs inside once the weather cools down to protect them from the cold.
5. Planting Trees and Shrubs
Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. The soil is still warm enough for roots to establish. Make sure to plan well before the season’s first frost so there is time to acclimate before the cold winter months come.
6. Dividing and Transplanting Perennials
Once the heat of the summer is over, divide any mature perennials that are starting to overcrowd an area in your garden. Transplant these to other areas in your garden, or share them with friends and neighbors.
7. Grow Fall Vegetables
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and cabbage can be planted, as well as root crops such as carrots, beets, and radishes.
8. Plan and Make Notes for Next Year
The goal for my garden is to transition from season to season timelessly. As one perennial dies down, another next to it will take its place. And that takes a lot of planning!
Now is the time to walk through your garden and make a list of what worked well for you, and what didn’t. What would you do differently?
I take pictures of my garden every season, so I can compare each area throughout the months.
I look at the areas in the garden that may have some holes in them or a lack of color. Maybe there were two types of flowers that were planted side by side and didn’t complement each other and need to be moved for next year.
It’s easy to want to take a break from the garden after so many months of work, but there is still so much work to do. Trust me, it will make all the difference in the world for next year’s garden.
I hope some of the tips I’m sharing with you on how to prepare your summer garden for the fall season will make your transition smooth.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if you have any questions or tips of your own.
Until next time,
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Visit my friend Stacy Ling’s blog for more on Flowers That Bloom in Mid-Summer.
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Great tips Kim!!! It’s been so hot here I’m looking forward to fall!
Kristin | White Arrows Home says
This post is such a great help for me Kim!! Thanks so much!!! I’m excited to share it with my followers in my weekend round up!
I live in Spanaway, not on the Sound, but close enough to receive the benefits of temperate winters. So you’re saying to mulch now, not after the first frost date (October 1-15, in my zone, 8b)? And that will prolong this year’s flowering season?
I would add mulch or mowed up leaves (that’s what I use, and they have much of the same benefits of mulch) before the first hard frost. I do this for my most vulnerable and sensitive plants to protect them from the winters cold. It has saved my dahlias, bulbs and other plants when we have had exceptionally cold winters and frost. I do not start doing this until the leaves start falling to the ground. You have plenty of time. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Barbara at Mantel and Table says
Oh your garden is so gorgeous Kim! I’m holding onto summer too, but your tips are a great way to transition to fall. I’m inspired! 🙂 Hope you have a lovely day!
Jennifer Dynys says
These are perfect tips! I tend to neglect fall cleanup and always regret it! If you have time I would love to have you link up at Embracing Home and Family!
Thanks Jennifer! I will visit your party right now!
The dahlias look amazing!!! Your gardens are so beautiful Kim!!! ??
Thank you Stacy! I’m loving your garden too! So glad you are growing dahlias now! Sedum Autumn Joy is over of my favorites!