It is amazing how completing just a few simple garden chores this fall can set the stage for your best-ever garden next year!

Without a doubt, fall is the time to lay the groundwork for a healthier, more productive garden. Not only will it pay off with a bigger harvest, but it creates a garden next year that will have less weeds, fewer pests and a greatly reduced chance for disease.

fall garden chores
Putting your garden to bed right now can set the stage for your best harvest ever next year!

Here is a look at the 5 must-do fall garden chores that will really make your garden rock with success next year!

5 Must Do Fall Garden Chores

#1 Review & Record Your Garden Now

Trust me when I say that this single, easy-to-do step will help more than you ever thought possible!

Before you remove a single plant – take a few pictures of your garden as it stands right now. And while you are at it, take a few minutes to jot down what grew well and what didn’t too. Be sure to include any pests or disease you had to deal with as well.

garden chores
Taking a few photos now of what is growing where will help with next year’s planting.

Why? Because no matter how good you think your memory is, it will fail you next spring! And recording it all down now with a few simple pics and notes will help you immensely at planting time next year.

It will keep you from planting the same crop in the same place, and from replanting varieties that didn’t perform well. In addition, it will help you know what issues to be on the lookout for and to stop them early.

It is so important to get the information down while it is fresh in your mind!

#2 Start / Grow Your Compost Pile – Fall Garden Chores

Simply put, compost is the powerhouse of great gardens. It is teeming with all sorts of beneficial microbes and organisms that help to create great balance and structure in the soil.

fall compost bin
Fall is the perfect time to load up your compost pile.

Fall is the perfect time to start a pile with readily available leaves and garden scraps. And by starting it now, you can have great compost ready to go come planting day next year.

When building that pile, there are a few things to keep out. We never compost our tomato and pepper plants, opting to instead burn them on our fire pit.

We have found with the ease of spreading blight and disease, those two plants are better left out.  See : Making A Fall Compost Pile

#3 Remove All Garden Plants & Debris – Fall Garden Chores

Now it’s time to get to work! As soon as that photo is snapped, it’s time to clear the garden!

Clearing the garden of all plants, foliage and debris is the single biggest key to keeping your garden healthy next year.

fall garden chores
Allowing plants to decay in the garden sets the stage for more pests, weed and disease.

If plants and rotting fruit and vegetables are left to sit, they not only attract pests, but harbor disease as well. They can also re-plant hundred of seeds that become next year’s weeds to pull.

Whatever you do, don’t let your garden crops rot away all winter. Instead, head to the next step and recharge your garden like never before with a cover crop!

#4 Don’t Till – Plant A Cover Crop! Fall Garden Chores

Plain and simple, cover crops are the best way to power up your garden and keep it productive year after year.

Cover crops stop soil erosion, replenish valuable nutrients, and keep weed seeds from finding a home in bare soil too. And best of all, there is no need to till now to plant, or to till in the spring to plant! (Creating A No-Till Garden)

must do summer garden chores
Our annual no-till cover crop of cereal rye helps power and re-charge our garden soil. But best of all, we simply mow it off in the spring to plant without tilling!

Cover crops are easy to plant, inexpensive, and the perfect way to protect your garden from fall til spring!  See : How To Plant A Cover Crop

For years, we have planted our garden with annual rye (cereal rye) as a fall cover crop. It not only recharges the soil, but provides a thick protective coat that keeps out next years weed seeds. (Product link : Annual Rye Seed)

If cover crops are not an option, at the very least cover the soil with leaves or straw. Keeping your garden soil covered is the key to keeping weeds out!

#5 Clean & Disinfect Stakes, Cages, Trellises And Supports – Fall Garden Chores

And last but not least – clean off all of your tools, trellises, cages and stakes!

These tools and garden supports can easily carry this year’s diseases with them to next year’s plants. So before you put them away, clean with a mild solution of water and bleach to disinfect any fungus or disease.

clean stakes and cages
Clean and disinfect all cages, trellises and tools before putting away.

A simple solution of a 1/2 cup bleach with a gallon of water will do the trick. Wipe all areas of the supports down with the solution, and rinse off with water. Let them dry in the sun, and store away. 

Once your fall garden chores are complete, you and your garden will be all set for big success next year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

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5 Must-Do Fall Garden Chores – How To Close Your Garden Down Right!