Gardens sometimes don’t turn out exactly as we’d hoped, but there’s always next year. And one big trick to making sure your garden is in full bloom next spring is taking a few steps now – as the summer winds down – to prepare.
1. Harvest what’s left. Don’t let all that bounty go to waste!
Hang-dry hardy herbs like lavender and rosemary, and freeze-dry tender varieties like basil, parsley and chives. Place rinsed leaves in ice cube trays, cover with water and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. When cooking, add a cube or two to flavour dishes.
Use immediately in ice pops or preserve them in a jam! You can even freeze them whole: Gently rinse, then drain. Once completely dry, arrange on a baking sheet, freeze overnight and transfer to a freezer bag.
Have an overabundance of cucumbers? Pickle them, along with carrots, onions and zucchini! Or make and freeze loaves of zucchini bread, so you always have hostess gifts or housewarming presents on hand.
After using or preserving all of your harvest, it’s time to turn your attention to containers, perennials and outdoor décor:
2. Empty Your Pots
Pull out and toss plants, and then spread the soil over flowerbeds – or dump it all into your compost bin. It’s not worth saving for next year as the broken down soil structure won’t provide optimal growth conditions.
Also, don’t worry about continuing to fertilize your perennials. They need to start storing starches, rather than experience leafy growth.
Tip: Make the soil in your compost bin even more fertile by adding homemade kitchen compost.
3. Gather Everything Up
Bring resin fixtures indoors. Left to the elements, they can cloud or peel. Do the same with concrete décor, as freezing and thawing can crack this porous material. Birdbaths can be kept outside, just be sure to overturn them.
Take terracotta pots indoors, but clean them first with warm soapy water and let air dry in the sun to keep the clay from cracking and flaking. Stack them with some newspaper in between each pot.
Containers made from fiberglass and/or weatherproof resin can be left outside.
That’s it – you’re all set! But if you’re a gardening fanatic – or want to become one – there are some indoor options for fall and winter, like houseplants you can’t kill or an indoor tea garden.