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Fall in the garden

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Fall in the garden is about properly harvesting the ripe fruits and cleaning out the dead, damaged and old plants.  The soil should be clean as a whistle including tools, buckets, watering cans, plant supports, anything that touches the garden in any way.


Flower beds should be left pruned or not according to the variety of the plant.  Soil should be cleaned and clean mulch provided.  Edging should be touched up and again, all tools cleaned and sanitized, then stored in a space where they will freeze, not in a warm garage.


Harvested fruits should be laid out not touching each other till they ripen and can be preserved or cooked.


Now is the time to do a Penn State Soil test to make amendments to the soil. 


Next it’s time to start the next year’s garden plan while you remember where everything was planted this year and how it did.  Remember to use garden rotation to prevent harmful insects and accompanying diseases and damage.

 
If you are planning on adding to the garden then start by staking out a location in the sun and saving heavy cardboard.  Lay the cardboard on the ground and secure it with rocks or some kind of a weight. You can add layers of amendments, compost and food scraps through the winter and when you dig into it in the spring, you will be rewarded with thousands of beautiful earthworms already working on your 2021 garden.


Save your leaves for mulching and composting through the winter.  You can never have enough!


Get your compost pile stacked and hot, and set up a second area for items to be added in the winter and used late in the spring.  


You can do indoor worm composting which is actually Vermicomposting in your basement for pure worm casting to use in the spring.  In addition to your new outdoor garden, you also have a place to compost much of your winter peelings and vegetable scraps.


House plants which have spent the summer outdoors, should be taken from their pots for a close inspection of their roots.  Mice, Millipedes and Sow Bugs love to climb up into the drainage hole to chew on the roots, and will end up in your house.  This can also be a good time to repot if the roots are filling the pot.  Check the leaves for aphids, mealy bugs and spiders.  Treat them about a week before taking the plant back indoors.  When you no longer need air conditioning or heat is a good time to take them back indoors.  Do it over the course of a week, moving the plant closer to full shade every day till it is sitting at your door.  Cut back on the watering also.


Clean up your indoor planting area and make sure you have the supplies you will need for spring seed starting.  In these COVID times, materials tend to vanish from the store shelves when needed, so stock up on what you feel you will need now.


Organize your seed collection now so you can add to it efficiently.  Be sure your Garden Journal is up to date.


Clean out those weedy areas for easy maintenance in the spring but dedicate one small area to native perennials for a winter shelter for beneficial insects.  


When the seed catalogs start coming in, take a deep breath and get your favorite corner ready with a pen and paper for browsing with a hot drink and a fresh cookie.  Enjoy!

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If anyone needs extra articles explaining specific projects such as how to clean garden tools, Lasagna Gardening, how to compost or Vermicomposting, just let me know. @Petee

 

Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Jefferson County

Cheryl J. Shenkle, Coordinator

186 Main Street

Brookville, PA 15825

814-849-7361  Extension 508

cjs5618@psu.edu

http://extension.psu.edu/jefferson

JeffersonMG@psu.edu

https://extension.psu.edu/trees-lawns-and-landscaping/home-gardening(Newsletter)

https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SVd6w3IB2Qd4t55T7 (Survey)

 

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