Summer is sadly coming to an end in just a couple short weeks. The mornings and evenings are cooling down, the sun is setting earlier and school is about to start again. This does not mean that you garden doesn’t still have a little life in it though.
Having a garden helps to save money, but as the season ends, your plants’ characteristics begin to change. The good news is that there’s still hope for your vegetable patch, and you can prolong their life and productivity. If you’re hoping to have a garden that is in good shape next year as well, now is a great time to do some prepping.
The following are just a few ways you can make the most of your end-of-summer garden:
Take flowers inside
Geraniums, annuals and some perennials can be moved into pots and brought inside the house for winter. For geraniums, pull them in the fall and replant in the spring. You’ll want to make sure they are in an area where they can receive direct and full sun in the morning with less light in the afternoon.
Certain annuals, like begonias and impatiens, can be brought indoors during those cold months. If you do not have the necessary light source for these plants, you will want to look into artificial lighting.
Before bringing them in and placing them in pots, though, you will need to cut them back, also known as pinching back, and placing the healthy shoots you’ve cut into new clean soil. When you go to plant them in your garden again in the spring, you will cut back again.
While your plant containers can be recycled season after season, the soil you use in them should be replaced each year.
Time to trim
A perennial is a plant that lives for two or more years. Examples include strawberries, tomatoes, basil, onions and potatoes. If you have these in your garden, you’ll want to cut off the dead foliage from the plant a few inches above the ground this fall. This won’t harm the plant because the roots will survive, which is why the plant will return in the future.
Annuals are plants that typically only last one season, so if you have these in the mix, you’ll want to remove them, roots and all, once they are spent. The same goes for your seasonal vegetables.
Be sure to also spend some time weeding and cleaning out leaf debris to avoid diseases and pests from developing over winter.
Up your watering game
To ensure your garden is getting enough to drink, water your plants frequently and even more in order to fight against the summer heat. Although fall is right around the corner, humid and dry days are still among us. If you’re leaving for the weekend, see if someone will water your garden for you or look into self-watering options.
If you do not already compost, this is something you should add to your to-do list. It is not only helpful to the environment, but compost is great for your garden’s growth and health as well. Use those spent annuals and vegetables that you’ve cleaned out from your garden and add to your compost pile.
As you do add to your compost stash, make sure to only include the healthy stuff. Anything that was diseased or contained pests will want to be directly tossed out instead of reused.
Most of all, don’t let any of those goods go to waste that you’ve been growing. If you have a surplus of cucumbers that you don’t know what to do with, think about pickling them. As for tomatoes, this article has some awesome recipes for your end-of-summer tomatoes.
Hopefully these tips help you with your green thumb adventures. By keeping your garden healthy each year, you can also help to save yourself some money in produce. I’ve been able to grow arugula and spinach earlier this season, and now I have some hearty squash growing in my growing for the season’s end.
Did you have a garden? What did you grow?