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Fall Gardening To-Do List

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Say Goodbye to the end of summer; and welcome cool-weather crops into your veggie garden. 

When we think of fall, we think of planting greens and an herb garden for fresh salads. But, before you start planting your fall vegetable garden, learn your area's first frost date. This way you can plan when to move your flowers to a cold frame or cover them with blankets. Here are other Fall Season Clean-Up To-Do's: 

Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from your home to avoid fallen tree limbs. Keep branches 5 to 7 feet away from your home to discourage small animals, such as squirrels, chipmunks or raccoons from exploring your attic.

Speaking of trimming, use a sharp pair of pruning shears to cut back dead ends on flowers to avoid plant disease. Cut back on fruit vines - grapes, blackberries, raspberries, etc. To protect your strawberries from frost, cover them with straw or create a warm barrier so they come back next year.

October and November are good months to do some landscaping. Keep on mowing and fertilize the soil for future growth. Reinforce weed control by pulling weeds by hand or spraying weeds with weed killer. Lastly, rake fallen leaves and set them in lawn bags.

Be sure to keep leaves and firewood away from the home, as ticks may be hiding underneath seeking warmth. Remember, a tick does not die in the cooler months, but instead, become dormant. Although ticks are most active in the spring and summer months, they are still highly visible in the fall season. Keep your eyes open and be sure to carry tick disease prevention tools with you, if you plan to stay outside for long periods of time.

In less than 40 days, vegetable gardeners can enjoy an abundance of crops including radishes, arugula, mustard, spinach and turnips. Start sowing seeds in September for best results.

Start planting the following vegetables in late summer for fall harvest:

  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Leeks
  • Collards
  • Brussels Sprouts

These hardy plants can handle light frost and survive below-freezing temperatures; and can be planted as late as December in Zones 8-10. And, if left in the ground, these veggies can kill off harmful pests such as nuisance wireworms!

As a grower, I'm sure you've noticed that deer will eat just about anything; and to protect vegetable gardens this fall, we need to act on deer resistance techniques. Old fashion mums are great fall plants deer won't eat.

Here's what to do to plant mums:

  1. Get an open spot in the garden - mums need about 5 hours of sunlight each day.
    Soil that drains well. 
    Enjoy mum plants in fall!

Other deer resistance flowers to plant in fall include: Buckeye, Lilac, Viburnum, Butterfly Bushes, and Eastern Sweetshrubs.

Deer Fencing is the best defense to save veggies from deer damage. Not only will a deer fence intimidate deer, but it will dismay rabbits knowing they cannot get pass the small animal fence. Granular or liquid repellents, as well as predator pees, can also be used in conjunction with a deer fence.

With this Fall Garden Clean-Up List, you are ready to enjoy your cool-season crops without disturbance from wildlife or the weather elements.