These fall garden tasks for the raised bed vegetable garden will get your garden ready for winter. They will also make your spring garden prep easier in a few months.
Fall Garden Tasks: Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening
One of the benefits of raised bed vegetable gardens is that they tend to warm up faster in the spring, and stay warmer in the fall. This means that you can extend the gardening season for a few weeks (if you are lucky.)
My own raised bed vegetable garden tends to follow this general rule. In the fall, even a brief frost doesn’t stop the whole garden. Leafy greens, like my Swiss chard bed, are unaffected. Only the very tender vegetables like tomatoes and peppers are finished when Jack Frost comes to visit.
To prepare your garden for the winter, these fall gardening tasks are essential. They will prevent diseases and may reduce the risk of insect damage in the spring.
Fall Gardening Tasks in the Raised Bed Vegetable Garden
- Remove all dead plants. I throw out spent vegetable plants. This prevents diseases and insect eggs from getting into the compost pile. If the compost piles heat up, you don’t have to worry too much; the heat destroys the disease organisms and insects. But if it doesn’t, you could end up sowing diseases and bugs in the spring when you mix in your compost. Who wants that?
- Clean and put away garden stakes, supports, and tomato cages. I stack mine outside in the winter because I don’t have enough space in the shed or garage. Make sure you pull off any plant material from the supports.
- Clean your garden tools before you put them away. Do you see the dirt clinging to the tools in the picture with this article? That dirt can encourage rust. Save your tools. Clean them with a rag or hose them down and let them dry before storing them for the season.
- Save seeds. If you save plant seeds, now is the time to dry and save them in a dark place. Put them in an envelope or paper bag. Cans and plastic containers can be too damp.
- Mulch strawberries and asparagus. Any perennial vegetables and fruits should be mulched with clean hay or pine straw (pine needles) to prevent the plants’ crowns from freezing. Strawberries and asparagus should be mulched for healthier plants.
- Check your raised beds, especially the corners, where the wood can rot or pull apart. Fixing the rotted boards now is easier than repairing a bed frame that completely breaks down after a winter of heavy snow.
- Mow the paths one last time if you have grass paths like I do. This keeps the grass trim before it goes dormant.
- Clean and put away the lawn mower. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for storing electric or gas mowers.
Fall is the time to relax and rejoice in a productive season. If you take good care of your raised bed vegetable garden, it will take good care of you next spring and be ready for your vegetable plants.
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Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.