As October sets in now is a great time to get a head start on garden clean up. This is very important for the overall health of your yard and garden, especially if you’ve had any issues with disease. For your vegetable garden start by writing down where you planted various plant varieties. This is important to record so that you avoid planting the same family of plants in the same location every year to help prevent disease. It is also a good idea to clean off and store items like tomato cages or vegetable trellises. When you remove plant material make sure to remove everything including old fruit and vegetables. If the debris is disease free you can compost it, however if you suspect you might have some diseased plant material it’s best not to compost it as it could potentially spread and re-infect the garden next year.
Cleaning up landscape beds in the fall isn’t necessary however the advantage to getting some of it done now is that you won’t have as much to do in the spring when you’re possibly overwhelmed with yard prep work. If everything is still looking good wait until after the first few frosts have taken their toll on the beds. When you begin cleaning up start by removing any dead or dying annuals then cut back your perennials. If you haven’t already invested in a good electric hedge trimmer you should seriously think about it because it will make your life so much easier and you won’t regret it. Make sure to rake up the cut debris for composting and like the vegetable garden be sure to not compost any plant material that may be diseased.
Once the cleanup is done if you’re yearning for a little color to help you through the winter don’t wait to pop in a few pansies and/or ornamental kale. They need some time to take root before the consistent freezes come for the best performance.