Fall has finally arrived. The days start to shorten, and the temperatures begin to drop. Many people try to cling to the long summer days and warm summer nights—not us gardeners! Fall is the season we have been building up to all summer!
The fast-paced summer season has had us running around in high energy, trying to fit as much gardening into the warm season as possible. But Fall brings an end to that frenzy. It is the season of abundance when we can reap the fruits of our labor.
The shorter days and cooler temperatures of Fall signal to your plants that it’s time to die back or become dormant for the harsh Winter. Tomatoes and peppers ripen from green to bright reds, yellows, and purples. The tassels of corn start to shrivel up and turn brown. Squash and melons develop bright yellows and oranges as they begin to soften for harvest.
Herbs like basil and fennel fill the air with their pungent fragrance as they start to flower and develop seeds. The flowers of herbs are full of flavor and can be used just like the leaves.
Fall is a season of free-giving. Gardeners feel a sense of joy as they share their harvests with their friends and neighbors. What goes around, comes around. Gardeners are gifted in return with an abundance of free supplies during Fall. Leaves!
Fall leaves are rich in nutrients and can be used in the garden in many ways! With the least effort, leaves can be collected and strewn across the soil surface as mulch. The leaves act as a blanket on the soil, trapping the summer's heat and protecting it from early frosts. Yes! You read that right. Mulching means you can garden for longer!
With a little bit more effort, you can stack your leaves into a pile and turn it regularly to make your own peat replacement. Or add it to your compost heap to balance out all the greens you will be adding from all the summer crops that have ended up in a pile.
Spring seems like a world away, but making a few notes about your garden in fall will make the Garden planning for next season much more accessible. Spring and summer are fast-paced seasons where you often feel like you never have enough time to do all the garden tasks on your list. Fall brings a breath of calm to the garden; everything starts to slow down. You have time to wander through your garden, reflect on the season, assess your work, and contemplate new ideas.
Jot down a few notes about the plants that grew the best and the plants that struggled. Were there a few planting combinations that flourished? Did all the plants get the light that they needed? What would you like to do differently next season?
Fall is the season of abundance and reflection. The fast-paced Summer season draws to a close and the dwindling hours of fall bring a sense of ease. Relish in the bounties of your harvests, the joys of sharing, and the moments of peace in the garden. This is the perfect time to reflect on the season, rejoice in all the little wins, and find inspiration and guidance for the next big growing season.