Are you ready for a Fall Gardening Challenge?! I feel like 3 kinds of gardeners emerge come fall. 1 – Diehard Gardeners – Squeezing every last ever-loving minute out of gardening, frost covers and all! 2 – Over It Gardeners – Rip it all out at the end of August and be done with it! Bring on the pumpkin spice! 3 – Ghosting Gardeners – getting totally immersed in back-to-school, back-to-sports, and working that fade away maneuver like an old ex until it gets cold out and you kick yourself for not dealing with your garden sooner. (Um, ouch, personal much?)
Which are you?
As much as I say there’s 3 kinds, I feel myself wavering between a diehard and a fadeaway.
Life just got SO busy this year and once that back-to-school cold hit me, I didn’t stand a chance.
Whatever your fall gardening style, it helps to go into the season with a bit of direction.
(And a joyful approach even if you don’t feel like doing fall garden chores!)
Fall Garden Chore Checklist
Try this 31-Day Fall Gardening Checklist to give you the best of your fall garden, whether you’re keeping it going or ripping it out.
Planting & Harvesting in the Fall Garden
1. Remove spent summer annuals and replace them with fall blooming plants.
2. Plant bulbs for spring blooming like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses.
3. Divide and transplant perennials that have outgrown their space.
4. Plant cover crops like clover, rye, or winter wheat to improve the soil.
5. Harvest the last of your summer veggies and herbs and remove spent plants.
6. Plant a fall veggie garden with cold crops like kale, carrots, spinach, and lettuce.
7. Plant spring-flowering shrubs like forsythia and lilac.
8. Plant trees and shrubs in the fall when cooler temperatures help roots to grow.
9. Plant bulbs for indoor forcing, like amaryllis or paperwhites, for winter blooms.
10. Create a container garden with fall-bloomers like ornamental kale and chrysanthemums.
11. Plant garlic bulbs to establish a nice harvest for next summer.
12. Bring sensitive plants indoors, like your lemon trees and other citrus or tropicals.
Soil Enrichment & Bed Prep
14. Remove any weeds from your garden beds to prevent them from going to seed and spreading.
15. Clean up fallen leaves from your yard and add them to your compost pile.
16. Remove any diseased or insect-infested plants from your garden to prevent it from spreading.
17. Take a soil sample and send it to a lab for testing, then add any needed amendments.
18. Build a cold frame to extend your fall gardening season and protect plants from cold temps.
19. Build a compost bin to turn fallen leaves and other yard waste into nutrient-rich compost.
20. Add compost or mulch to your garden beds to prepare them for winter.
Cleanup & Maintenance
21. Clean and store garden statues, pots, fountains, and other items that could be damaged.
22. Drain and store garden hoses and watering cans to prevent damage from freezing temps.
23. Clean out your greenhouse or indoor growing area to prepare for winter plantings.
24. Clean out birdhouses and feeders to prepare for winter bird watching.
25. Extend the season – install frost protection for plants that may suffer cold damage.
26. Clean and sharpen garden tools, and store them in a dry place for winter.
27. Trim back overgrown hedges and bushes to keep them from getting too unwieldy.
Planning & Brainstorming
28. Walk through your garden and write down what worked well and what you want to improve.
29. Make a list of the plants you want to add to your garden next year and research sellers.
30. Attend a fall gardening workshop or class to learn new skills and techniques.
31. Celebrate the end of gardening season with a fall harvest feast featuring your own veggies.
31-Day Fall Gardening Challenge – Free Printable
I wanted to keep myself on track with fall garden chores I should be doing. Life got busy once the kids went back to school and I needed to get myself organized.
You can print this list and use it to actually check off the tasks or add it to a binder in a plastic page protector for reference.
I tried to organize this gardening challenge by theme so you can attack the chores based on the vibe. You can go for planting and harvesting, soil amendment, removing old plants, cleaning, storage, maintenance, or daydreaming about your next year’s gardens.
I hope this fall garden challenge checklist helps you to stay organized and get your work done so you can relax and enjoy the autumn season.
Do you have any other tasks we should add to the fall garden challenge? I kept it to 31 days for simplicity, but we can always update it or talk about more tasks in the comments!