Even though the harvest is the highlight of Fall and autumn, other tasks like cleaning up and preparing the plot for the future spring sowing are also there to keep us busy in the vegetable patch.
Before resting in the winter…
September, a month of abundance
Make the best of this abundance by preparing ratatouille and tomatoes preserves that you’ll savor over the coming winter.
Freeze excess string beans and dry your beans by hanging the plants upside-down in a ventilated spot.
Keep sowing more radish if you want to eat some in fall. Sow more corn salad to ensure you’ll have enough greens in the coming months. If space is available once you’ve pulled out your string beans, plant some spinach that should be ready by winter’s end. It is still time to plant the last leek plants to soil enriched with compost: they’ll be ready for picking in spring.
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October, clean-up time
In October, pull out your last tomato with their fruits in a luminous, ventilated space where the temperature is above 70°F (20°C). They’ll ripen perfectly. Pull out plants that won’t bear any more, as well as bean, zucchini and eggplant. Shred them up if they’re healthy, and cover free spaces with this mulch. You can also shred dead ornamental annuals for mulch, too.
Sow lentils, chick peas, broad beans and round peas directly in the ground. Under a cold frame or in a tunnel greenhouse, you may sow carrot for a spring harvest, and head cabbage varieties to transplant them in November. It is still time to plant your strawberry plants. Cover them with 4 inches (10 cm) of buckwheat hulls will produce humus and you won’t have to weed anymore.
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November, plant trees!
At the vegetable patch, follow up the seedlings you’ve started in October and sow lettuce in a covered place. Pull out diseased tomato plants that have been left behind and incinerate them. Divide your rhubarb plants. Harvest carrot, red beet and turnip if you can store them in a silo or in a protected and well-ventilated area. If you live in an area where winters are mild, simply leave them in the ground.
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December, last chance to protect before winter strikes
In mild climate-areas, you can plant garlic, yellow onions and shallots (ordinary gray ones or ‘Jersey pink’ ones). Start germinating the potatoes that you wish to seed.
Completely cover vacant spaces with mulch or an opaque plastic tarp that will slow undesired growth and protect the soil from the pattering of the rain. In spring, you’ll remove these protections whenever you need to uncover a plot.
- Find all our December gardening tasks