Week 33 – The yes and no of Fall garden cleanup


Decorate your patio with pumpkins, gourds and cool weather plants

We’ve had a little snow and a couple of frosts and maybe a freeze so it’s time to get out and get the garden in shape for Spring and do some fall cleanup.  You should have already brought the plants indoors you want to save like geraniums, any plants you want to root and any patio plants and trees that you put out year after year.


Don’t rake leaves out of your garden

Let’s get the No’s out of the way:

Leaves in your garden?  Just say NO to raking them up.  The leaves in the garden will make a nice blanket to protect your perennials over the winter and will naturally decompose and give nutrients to the soil.  If there are leaves on your lawn, rake them up and put them in your compost pile or in your garden.

Do I prune roses now?  NO.  In the Spring when the stems start turning green is the time to prune roses.  Right now pruning will stimulate growth and it’s not the time for that, so wait until Spring.

Should I cut back perennials and grasses now?  NO.  Grasses look great in the winter and give the landscape some character.  They don’t start growing until mid June so enjoy them throughout the winter.  Leave perennials and let them dry up.  The stalks will decompose and give nutrients to the soil and in the Spring you can clean up the dry stalks and stems that are still left over.  Some animals live and feed on grasses and perennials so leave it for the animals.

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Say YES to cleaning up your pots and containers.  Clean out your old plants from your pots.  Get a large garbage can or trash bag and dump all of your soil in it.  You can reuse the soil next year.  In the Spring you can mix the old soil with some compost and you’ll be set to go without buying all new soil.  After your pots are empty you can store them in the basement or garage or if you have a place outside you can turn them upside down and cover them with a tarp.

Say YES to cleaning up the vegetable garden.  Harvest any cool weather crops that are in your vegetable garden.  Today we harvested some cabbage.  Pull up all of your old vegetable plants and annual flowers like squash, marigolds, peppers, etc.  Put these in your compost pile.

So, clean up your pots and get them stored, pull out the old vegetables and annuals and start them composting, harvest your crops, and sit back and enjoy the birds and animals enjoying the bushes, shrubs and grasses that you won’t touch until Spring.

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There’s still time to decorate and enjoy some pumpkins and squash and gourds on your patio.  Maybe still a pot of pansies and kale.  Get some winter hardy and cool weather plants from your local garden center like kale, mums, and pansies.  Soon it will be time to do porch pots which last all winter long until Spring so stay tuned for that in the next couple of weeks.

Happy Gardening!!

To view this week’s segment go to:


About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
This entry was posted in Decorate your patio, Gardening, Harvesting your garden, Holiday Plant Arrangements, Perennial Beds, Perennial Beds, Proctor's Apprentices, Rob Proctor, Vegetable Gardens and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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