Categories: Organic Gardening

Fall Garden Checklist

By Published On: September 26, 2014
Fall Garden Checklist

Fall Garden Checklist


If you count the hours spent readying your garden in spring, picking, eating and weeding in summer and now find yourself on to fall, you may wonder how it could get any better?

It always seems that in spring I’m filled with an unshakeable need to make my world green, prepping soil and planting as fast as I can. Winter crops are replaced with spring and then summer veggies, the compost I made in late fall — which I almost always leave to cold compost once it’s been turned a few times — is hand-trucked around to replenish beds and containers. Then there’s a bit of a summer lull, where I feel like it’s okay to soak up every bit of the garden in it’s prime. But now that it’s nearly October I’ve decided this is when it really shines.

I love everything about it, from low-angled sunlight to changing colors — life cycles shifting. And funny enough, I love the chores.


Fall Garden Checklist


Here are my top 10 to-do’s on my fall garden checklist:

  • Harvest and store seeds. Beans, sunflowers (if the birds and squirrels decide to share), tomatoes, squash and flowers (nasturtium, cosmos, calendula, etc.) are generally where I start.
  • Prune and tidy spent flowers and shrubs. Annuals get cleaned up and plants like catmint, lavender and black-eyed Susan’s are cut back. Some plants, like roses, grapes, kiwi and butterfly bush are pruned in winter or spring.
  • Compost what’s left of summer crops after final harvests. I’m careful with plants like tomatoes, because they can spread disease from one season to the next I clean up all the dead leaves and debris along with the vines. You can compost tomato plants if your pile gets hot enough but if you’re unsure you may want to keep them separate from compost you plan to put back into your garden next season.
  • Send the kids out on snail patrol. 1., it’s fun and, 2., it’s nice to feel like you’re making a dent on their growing populations. Plus, if you have chickens, they’ll love you for it.
  • Divide perennials. If you notice your perennials developing “holes” near their centers, leaves and branches are leaning out from the center or the center is empty, you know it’s time to divide. Your plants are telling you they need space. Divide spring and summer flowering perennials in fall and fall blooming perennials in spring.
  • Plant bulbs. I can’t help it, every year I’m compelled to throw a few more bulbs into the mix. Why not? Plant in containers, prep boxes or put them out in the garden. Group them together for a larger splash of color.
  • Mulch. I typically apply an organic time-release fertilizer to my most productive flower/perennial beds then tuck them in with a fresh layer of mulch. Wood chips or other, locally sources materials will do.
  • Plant perennials, shrubs and trees. Now’s the time to get them in the ground. Add fertilizer to the planting area, give them a deep watering and they’ll have winter to develop a healthy root system before putting energy into spring growth.
  • Grow cover crops and plant winter veggies. Or try growing sugar snap peas for a little of both.
  • Eat and play outside. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy what’s left of your summer harvest and soak up every bit of fall.
How to Collect & Save Tomato Seeds
Jam Making 101 | Hard Earned Sweetness


Grow what you love podcast
Grow what you love podcast on Spotify
Grow what you love podcast on itunes
Grow what you love podcast on Google Play
Grow what you love podcast on Stitcher
Grow what you love podcast on Tune In

Buy The Book

Buy the book

Special offers

Begin Composting Today With SubPod

Newsletter Signup


Yes, you can tell me about your other products and services! Privacy Policy



Pass The Pistil is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs such as Etsy, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by advertising and linking to curated affiliate sites.


About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!


  1. terri September 28, 2014 at 6:22 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this fall checklist it will help many gardeners out there.

    • Emily Murphy September 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I live by my lists these days. I’m sure you have one of your own… probably like mine. Cross one off, add two more.