For some gardeners, growing can be a year round activity. But for the most part, the plants you grow in the summer aren’t the same ones you’ll have in the fall. Whether you’re a novice just practicing gardening as a stress release or a pro, you’ll need to make a plan for transitioning your garden between seasons as you clear out the old and bring in the new.
Follow these tips to make garden transitions easier and more productive.
- Take notes. Before you pull anything out, start making notations of what did well and what didn’t. Take photos so you can remember where you put everything and make notes on any changes you’d like to plan for next year.
- Pull out old annuals. Annual plants will only live for one growing season before they die, and need to be replaced each season. Identify which plants in your garden need to be pulled out to make room for new ones.
- Consider perennials. If you’d like to cut down on transitional gardening, perennials can help. Perennials don’t need to be replaced each season and can make transitioning easier throughout the year as you simply let them grow.
- Prune your perennials. During the transitional season, you can cull back perennials. Consider replanting extras in another area, or sell or give them away to others. However, keep temperatures in mind. If you’re trimming them too early, you might leave them less protected from cold. This can make them more susceptible to insects, diseases and more.
- Inspect for diseases. As you’re transitioning your garden, look throughout your plants for any diseases, spotting blotchy leaves and other issues. You’ll want to remove any troublesome areas.
- Move some plants indoors. If you’re moving into an extreme temperature season such as winter or summer, transitioning your garden is vital. Some plants won’t be able to survive when it’s very cold or very hot. During this time, consider bringing them inside where the temperatures are more mild. You can transition them into the indoors by putting them in a shadier area, then giving them light and fertilizer once you’ve moved them in.
- Save your seeds. As you’re pulling out old plants, think ahead to next year. Harvest seeds from your plants that you’re taking out so you can plant them when it’s time for them to grow again. You can dry them out and store them in a cool, dark environment in an airtight container. Or, if you’re not able to save your seeds, think about shopping with your garden store so you can buy them at an end of season discount as retailers clear out old stock. You’ll need to double check seed viability before planting. Place seeds in water for 15 minutes or so and if they sink, you should be good to plant them.
- Add some mulch. Bringing in mulch can help you cut back on weeds and your water usage while offering insulation for soil. You could even extend your growing season with mulch. Mulch doesn’t necessarily have to be store bought. Consider using grass cuttings, or leaves that have fallen from the trees.
- Bring in new plants. After you’ve pulled out the old and prepped for the new, get started fresh with new seasonally appropriate plants. Keep in mind that you may need to invest in protection appropriate for the season, such as frost covers in the winter.
Seasonal garden transitions can be a lot of work, but they’re worth it. Keep your garden going year round by prepping in between seasons and considering how your garden can adapt to the changing weather.