Planning Your Organic Gardening Year

Early Fall -

While gardeners in many parts of the country start to prepare their gardens for winter, it’s not too early to start thinking about next year's garden.

  • This is a good time to study the border plan. If it looks like stair steps, bring some of the taller plants forward and the low ones back a bit. This is the perfect time to transplant perennials and biennials.
  • Make notes on which beneficial bugs visited your garden; that way, you can be sure to grow plants next year that will attract them.
  • Remove mulch from around the base of fruit trees to discourage mice from nesting there and nibbling on root systems.
  • Put hardware cloth tree guards around your trees to prevent mice and rabbits from eating the bark.
  • Plant pansies and ornamental cabbages for color into December.
  • Remove frosted, ugly, or dead annuals after saving seeds and seed pods.
  • Spread a light application of 5-10-5 fertilizer over the area where you intend to plant your fall annuals
  • The only pest you need to worry about is the cabbage worm on the ornamental cabbages.
  • Use an insecticidal soap on any annual plants that you bring into your home, and keep them away from your other indoor plants until you are sure they are pest free.
  • Now is the time to plant spring bulbs. As a rule of thumb the earlier in the spring your bulbs are supposed to bloom, the earlier in the fall you should plant them.
  • Stop fertilizing all tender bulbs, as they need to begin to rest for winter storage.
  • Give newly planted stock a deep watering once a week if rainfall is less than an inch.
  • Leave established rose bushes intact, allowing them to form hips (seed pods) on last bloom. This gives natural winter resistance. Wait until early April to prune.
  • Protect tender plants with sheets, newspaper or plastic if a sudden frost threatens. Row covers can be left on the plants.
  • Ripen green tomatoes stem end up. Lay on newspaper. Keep from direct sun.
  • Leave leeks, carrots, beets in the ground until needed.
  • Plant garlic and shallot sets upon arrival.
  • Give poinsettias, kalanchoes the long night treatment by depriving them of all light from sunset to sunrise.
  • Allow holiday cactus, tender azaleas to remain outdoors until frost threatens.
  • Prune away developing seeds on cannas. Take care not to cut the stalk below the next emerging flower spike. New flowers hide from view, form beneath the sheath of the previous bloom. If you are in the warmer parts of the country, you may be able to leave some cannas in the ground over the winter.
  • Check houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors for soil insects in the saucer, scale and sucking pests on top growth before taking in.
  • The most important aspect of pest control is to clear and clean up the garden of dropped fruits. clippings, and leaves. This is where insects and diseases will re-infect or re-infest your plants again next year. Put them in the compost pile and remember to turn the pile at least once a week.

Happy Gardening.

Have you looked at our other How To Flower Articles or our flower picture gallery?