The main garden season is over spring and summer – and then early autumn (or fall, depending upon where you hail from) is harvest time. But the work doesn’t stop with the harvest: you still need to prepare your vegetable garden for fall and for winter.
(Above, in the photo, are: my blueberry bushes turning red, strawberries below, asparagus to the left, and my scarlet runner beans in the back).
This is absolutely not a complete guide of what I do to prepare my garden for winter – this just shows a few of the highlights!
One of my earliest tasks to do in the fall is to pick my late tomatoes before they start to rot or mould.
The plants are usually looking dry and dead by mid-autumn, but the tomatoes are still ripening. I pick them very carefully – making sure not to bump or bruise them – and bring them inside even if totally green. If I take good care with the harvest, most years I continue to get fresh ripe red tomatoes for a full three months after the harvest date!
One of the things I do in fall is to harvest and use a whole bunch of my root vegetables:
This means my carrots and my beets, my turnips and my parsnips, and by later fall my Jerusalem artichokes, too.
I also leave some of those root veggies in the ground, like carrots and potatoes which I will dig up and use as needed.
And I clean up the rest of the garden – removing all of the dead plants that will not produce any more (like the tomatoes, pepper and squashes), and weeding in between those that I expect to continue to provide me with winter greens, like the kale and Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli.
I don’t have greenhouses or an “acreage” – but I still am able to provide a lot of food for my household from my backyard gardens here in town. If you would like to learn how you can become self-sufficient and grow your own food, too, then sign up for the Food Garden Club! It’s free – and I promise I will never spam you or share your private contact info.