The Summer Garden Is Done, What’s Next?

Author: Meera, August 22, 2017

My summer garden is wild and chaotic and bountiful at the beginning of the season. You’ll find fruit trees, vegetables, vines of melons, corn, and perennial lavender and other showy herbs and flowers. Like a grand dame of faded elegance, the garden has matured and looks a bit weary and spent now that Labor Day approaches.


Just because the peak growing season is coming to an end, it’s not the end of garden chores. The following tasks can be started now.





Harvested pumpkins and heirloom butternut squash symbolize the arrival of autumn

Heirloom butternut squash and sugar pumpkins


For some crops, the harvesting goes on. Examples include tomatoes, potatoes, melons, and winter squashes like Butternut that store well. If you haven’t already harvested the garlic, it’s a good time to do that.




Cut sunflower seed heads and place them in a warm area to dry.  Collect seeds from cosmos, nasturtiums, and other flowers to preserve for next year’s garden. Work out storage options, especially for food items to be harvested.



Snip summer table grapes and other varieties if they are ripe . . . or let them hang a while longer for extra sweetness.


Our grapes are Thompson Seedless and Merlot

These Merlot grapes will turn deep purple and taste quite sweet when ripe




Depleted, dying, or dried annuals can be dug, pulled, and composted now. If you plan to let the garden rest, plant a cover crop so the ground doesn’t become hard scrabble. The cover crop will feed the soil.




If you intend to do a fall planting, take time now to enrich the earth with amendments. Turn and rake the garden soil. Put plants directly into the prepared earth and water well to get them off to a good start.




lettuce and peas and onions are already ready for our table

Lettuce and other greens  are easily grown in raised beds



For quick second crop before the weather turns cold, plant greens such as spinach, kale, and arugula. Cool season crops like beets, broccoli, and cabbage can go directly into the ground now, too.




Cut flower heads of hydrangeas for drying. Insert plant markers near peonies and other perennials that will die completely back during winter. Gather bunches of mint and other herbs, tie with string, an hang in a cool, dark place to dry.




Designate an area to create a new compost pile. Use garden detritus and fall leaves as the trees begin to drop their canopies to enter winter dormancy. The resulting mulch will enrich the soil for next year’s garden.



Store onions in burlap bags; pomegranates

Store onions in burlap bags; pomegranates keep in the refrigerator for up a month




Pomegranates, persimmons, and pumpkins will soon be ripening. Ensure that these plants continue to get water. Check for pests and any signs that might indicate nutrient deficiencies that could show up in the leaves. Figure out your options for storing or gifting excess fruits and veggies. For example, pomegranates keep well in the fridge or remove the seeds and put into bags for freezing. Save  and dry rinds for potpourri.




Aerate and amend soil in grow boxes and raised beds for cool season crops. Do these chores before the rainy season and cool weather arrives. Your garden, like a young maiden who flourishes from attention, will produce bountiful vegetables, fruits, berries, and flowers during its next growing season.







If you enjoy reading about farmette topics, gardening, and keeping chickens and honeybees, check out my series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing in New York.



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The newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette of cozy mysteries

The newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette of cozy mysteries






My newest nonfiction book  is published by Adams Media/Simon & Schuster:


Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus...all it takes is a moment

Anyone can find peace, clarity, and focus…all it takes is a moment


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