Putting Your Kitchen Garden to Bed for the Season

All summer long, your garden has given you fresh, delicious herbs, fruits, and veggies to savor. Now that the cooler weather is here, it’s almost time to put your garden to sleep for the winter ahead.


Putting the garden to bed simply means getting rid of the mess, cleaning up what’s left, and storing the things you won’t need until spring. These steps will reduce the work you need to do next season when it’s time to plant again. When these fall chores are done, you can settle in knowing that when you look out the window, your garden will look tucked in for the season.



There are basically 4 steps: cutting back, cleaning up, planting, protecting and prepping for spring.


Don’t feel as though you have to do everything at once. If you’ve had a bad pest or disease problem this season, focus your efforts there. If you’ve been meaning to do something about your soil, take advantage of this calm time to get it done. Do a little at a time and you’ll be gratified to see how it all comes together.



Any perennial plants in or near your kitchen garden can be cut back in the fall, although a few, like chrysanthemums, prefer to remain standing, to act as winter mulch.


Wait until the first frost causes plants to die back before cutting them down. You don’t want to encourage new growth that will be hit again. Start with plants that were diseased or had a pest problem. Be sure trim away all damaged parts and toss the trimmings out – don’t compost them.


Don’t prune woody plants, trees and shrubs until they are dormant. Leave some plants for the birds and for overwintering beneficial insects.



Most of the plants in your kitchen garden are annuals – tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and so on. It’s time to pull all this plant matter out and discard or compost it.


Harvest everything above ground and under fruit trees. Don’t leave fruits and vegetables out all winter to rot attract animals and set seed.


Clean up overgrown areas to make things easier in the spring. You know that out-of-control area behind the shed or next to the fence? Fall is a great time to tackle it. Left messy, it will just invite animals, weedy trees and shrubs.


Don’t forget your tools and containers. It’s tempting to wait until spring, but who has time then? Empty all your pots, disinfect them and bring them inside your garage or shed. You can store the soil elsewhere if you plan to reuse it. An easy way to disinfect containers is by spraying them with a bleach cleaner.


Clean and store stakes, cages and garden ornaments. They’ll last longer if you don’t leave them exposed all winter.


Clean and sharpen tools before storing them. Remove all caked-on soil and sharpen the edges with a file. Give them a light coating of oil.



Get flowering bulbs, garlic, and rhubarb in the ground before it freezes. If your herb plants are still looking good, pot them up and bring them indoors.


Take advantage of the cool weather and sow a crop of spinach. The plants will start growing for you in early spring and you’ll be harvesting when everyone else is just planting.


You can plant new trees and shrubs until the soil freezes. Fall is a great time for putting them in because they can sink all their energy into their roots. However, those roots will need water. If the ground never freezes, you’ll need to make sure they have water all winter. Remember that perennial plants will also need watering if the fall season is very dry. They may be going dormant, but they’re not dead.



Shield any plants that animals might eat. Put fencing around shrubs. Use tree guards for trees bothered by deer, rabbits, and voles.


Mound soil or mulch around the base of grafted roses. Remember to remove it in the spring.


Ease up on fertilizing plants, so new growth won’t get damaged by temperature drops.




Fall is a great time for tailgate parties and other special celebrations. Have more fun at your party by welcoming in the catering services experts at Jerry’s Kitchen!

Our award-winning food trucks are a great choice – or, if you prefer, we can prepare a traditional catered menu with fresh favorites to please all your guests. We have delicious choices for everyone, including vegan and gluten-free options.

To book catering services or food trucks for your party near Doylestown or Philadelphia, give us a call today.




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