End of the Road: Garden Clean-Up Tips for the End of the Growing Season

ID-100206371As the summer months come to an end and cooler weather sets in, it’s time for avid gardeners to start making a clean-up plan. The end of the growing season requires careful work to maintain the quality of the soil and to ensure the quality of next year’s planting activities. Though some gardeners might easily overlook this process, or assume it’s simply too time-consuming to fit into their weekend schedules, the good news is that most clean-up tasks take just a few moments to complete. These tasks, though simple, will greatly improve next year’ growing season and the early-spring preparation period for gardeners who take the time to complete them, however.

How to Handle the Vegetable Garden

The most common type of garden found outside today’s homes is a simple vegetable garden that provides fresh produce throughout the warmest months of the year. The vegetable garden is so popular because it’s so low-maintenance and so fruitful, especially when compared to other garden types. It’s also easy to clean up and prepare for the autumn months ahead. A few simple tips will make the garden resilient enough to bounce back as soon as the spring thaw sets in.

1. Carefully “clean” the vegetable garden by removing dead or spent plants, removing any diseased or or rotten vegetables, and compost the garden’s waste. This will create fertile soil for next year’s growing season.

2. Make a plan to handle compacted soil before it becomes too hard to manage after the winter months ahead. Till the top 6 or 8 inches of the soil, add compost, and monitor the area for any additional compaction over the next few weeks.

3. Take steps to prevent erosion that could send fertile soil to other, unwanted areas around the home. The best way to prevent erosion from robbing the garden of its nutrients is to cover the compost or topsoil with fall foliage and grass clippings. This top layer will act as a shield, preserving the growing area effectively.

Cages, Stakes, and More: What to Do with Accessories

A good garden often relies on trellises, cages, and other accessories to ensure the sound structure and growth of vegetable plants. As the summer months wrap up and garden clean-up gets underway, each of these additional pieces of equipment should be removed. At the time of removal, gardeners will want to check each cage, trellis, and stake for potential damage or wear. If necessary, apply a fresh coat of paint or a restorative finish. This will prevent further damage or corrosion in the future. With the equipment inspected and restored, it can be safely placed into storage for the next several months.

Cleaning Up the Season’s Flower Garden

Flower gardens are almost as popular as vegetable gardens, and their required cleanup procedures are actually quite similar. Careful attention to detail will help to preserve a nutrient-rich flowerbed that will withstand the harsh cold of winter weather and bounce back in the spring. To get started, remove all of the flower plants that are dead and brown. Use these plants, as in the vegetable garden, to create a layer of compost. This will add key nutrients back into the soil in advance of winter weather, making the flowerbed easier to plant again in the spring.

Remove all of the weeds that might have taken root in the flowerbed toward the end of the summer. With plants and weeds both removed, create a “shield” layer atop the flowerbed by using grass clippings and fall foliage. As in the vegetable garden, this layer will prevent damaging erosion. Finally, make sure to avoid pruning woody plants that will remain in the flowerbed all winter. Pruning encourages new plant growth, which is not needed or healthy as the weather cools off.

End-of-Season Lawn Maintenance Tips

With the end of summer lawn maintenance comes the required removal of fall foliage from the lawn. To make this process a bit easier, give the lawn one last trim. This time, cut the grass shorter than would be advisable during the summer. This will make blowers more effective as foliage begins to fall. The early fall months are also a great time for homeowners to make use of an overseeder, providing added turf thickness and resiliency right before the temperatures take a longer, more notable plunge.

For Lawn Equipment, Parts and Accessories, Trust Shank’s Lawn Equipment

Homeowners often find that preparing the lawn and garden for autumn requires all kinds of new equipment and accessories, including overseeders, aerators, and blowers. The good news for those homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country is that they have convenient access to Shank’s Lawn Equipment and the ShanksLawn.com website. Located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a quick stop along Interstate 81 for customers throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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