Tips from Olle Garden Bed: How to Transition Your Summer Garden to Autumn
As autumn approaches, it's time to transition your summer garden to fall. Here's a step-by-step guide to a seamless process. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
Summer gardens provide plenty of gorgeous, colorful flowers, delicious vegetables, and refreshing fruits, but there's beauty to be found in the autumn garden as well. As the air turns cooler and summer blooms fade, it's time to consider transitioning your summer garden to autumn. Many plants thrive in the fall, whether it's the cool greens, tasty roots, or warm-hued blossoms.
Learn how to determine when to transition your summer garden to autumn and all the best tips for turning your summer oasis into the autumn garden of your dreams.
When to Transition to an Autumn Garden
While cool evening breezes may start to creep into your garden, the warmth of summer still fills the daytime air. So, when is the best time to transition your garden from summer to autumn? As a general rule, start the transition after the first frost. The decline of summer annual plants is another sign that it's time for a change.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and avoid preparing for your autumn garden too early! Otherwise, your new plants might not thrive in the warm temperatures. It's typically best to begin this transition around the end of September, but this may vary depending on your location. Just stay tuned, as autumn has its sneaky ways!
Regardless of when you start the transition, planning is crucial. For example, order perennial plants, shrubs, and trees that you'll plant around late August or early September. Also, make sure you have all the right tools for cleaning up your garden.
Tools You'll Need
Once the cooler weather sets in, it's time to transition to your autumn garden, and you'll need some different tools:
Shovel or hand trowel
Compost or a collection bin
Sprayer or hose
Transitioning Your Summer Garden to an Autumn Garden
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to transition your summer garden to an autumn garden:
Step 1: Clear Out the Old Garden
Before planting your fall favorites, clearing out the old garden is the first step to a seamless transition. Remove all used crops, including summer vegetables and dead annual plants. Additionally, harvest any mature fruits and vegetables from plants nearing the end of their life cycle. Don't forget to deadhead and trim back any used perennial plants to prepare them for winter. Gardening gloves, a shovel, and a garden fork will make removing roots and dead plants easier.
Place any old plants into a compost bin, but be vigilant for signs of disease. If you notice any signs of disease on the plants, such as black spots, withered leaves, or yellowing, dispose of them outside of the compost. Avoid putting weeds in the compost as they can easily spread; instead, dispose of them by burning, putting them in bags, or even making compost piles specifically for them!
Additionally, take apart old trellises and bring them indoors for the winter. Clean them with a bleach solution of 2 parts water to 1 part bleach and soak them for a few hours or overnight. Also, soak your pots overnight to prepare them for new plants.
Step 2: Prepare Garden Beds
After cleaning up the garden, it's time to prepare garden beds and pots. First, test the soil pH to determine any nutrient deficiencies. Then, supplement the soil with compost or fertilizer to ensure your autumn plants have enough nutrients to thrive throughout the season. To prevent the spread of diseases or pests, clean your pots with a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, soak them for a few hours or overnight, and prepare the pots for new plants.
Step 3: Choose Your Plants
Now that the garden is cleared and ready, replace your summer annuals with plants that thrive in the fall. Plant beautiful flowers and vegetables based on your preferences (or a mix of both!). In general, you'll find that short-season crops that enjoy cooler weather are the top choice for autumn. Select cold-hardy flowers like chrysanthemums and marigolds, leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, and root crops like carrots and radishes.
Typically, start planting local trees, shrubs, and perennial plants in September. Check the weather forecast before planting—although there are still six weeks of mild weather, the soil remains warm enough for transplanting, allowing your perennial plants time to establish roots and adapt to their new locations in the yard. Remember that all plants have different preferences and requirements, so do your research on the best planting times!
Wait until after the first frost to reseed your lawn to ensure that the seeds won't start germinating before the warmth returns in spring. September is also an ideal time for dividing spring-blooming perennial plants.
Step 4: Maintenance
When caring for your autumn garden, the rules are similar to summer maintenance. First, keep the soil moist to help new transplants and seedlings develop strong, healthy roots. Additionally, control weeds through regular maintenance, including manual weeding, weed control products, and adding garden edges, as they can steal the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive.
In taking care of your autumn garden, the rules are similar to summer maintenance. First, keep the soil moist to help new transplants and seedlings develop strong, healthy roots. Additionally, control weeds through regular maintenance, including manual weeding, using weed control products, and adding garden edging, as they can steal the nutrients needed for your garden to thrive.