Fall garden cleanup is an important step for the long-term health of your garden. Beds cleaned up now will be ready to plant first thing in spring, with fewer weeds and overwintering pests.
Plus, there is no better time to be in the garden than a crisp fall day.
How to Clean up Garden Beds:
- Make two piles for garden waste – one for seed-bearing weeds and diseased plants, and one for compostable materials like annuals, veggies and leaves.
- Pull dead plants and weeds and toss them into appropriate piles.
- Cut tomato and squash vines, woody plant material and other bulky items into 12″ pieces to help them rot faster.
- Collect tomato cages and gather up stakes. Store. Dispose of broken or damaged items and make a note of what you will need to replace in spring.
- Lightly rake your cleaned beds.
- Mulch with two or three inches of chopped leaves, pine straw or another biodegradable mulch to restore soil health.
- Amend soil with organic matter like earthworm castings.
- Trash the pile of diseased and seed-bearing plants. Compost the other. Learn more about composting in fall.
Wait until spring to prune back hardy herbs like sage and oregano. Through winter, the brown branches will shelter the base of the plants from harsh weather.