Garden work now will save you time next spring

By Steve Smith

If you are like me, you are probably sick and tired of dragging hoses all over the garden, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Understandably, there is a tendency for us to slack off on these chores as fall approaches, but letting the garden go to seed is never a good idea when it comes to weeds, either in the lawn or flower beds. Keep your nose to the grind stone, and you will be glad you did come spring.

•Lawns: Don’t wait for Mother Nature to resurrect your lawn. It will naturally wake up as the nights grow longer and temperatures cool, but helping this along – with supplemental water and a bit of food – will go a long way to getting it healthy again. Aerate, de-thatch, reseed or start all over, but get it done this month.

•Perennials: You can still find lots of late-blooming perennials. Perennials planted in the fall will take off come spring.

•Bulbs: Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and many other minor perennial bulbs are available to plant now. Not sure about bulbs? Try attending a local class such as the one we are offering Sept. 29.

•Veggies: As you harvest your summer veggies, work some more compost and fertilizer into the soil (like Azomite), and replant with some fall crops. The Botanical Interest Seeds company offers 10 varieties of veggies that will mature from seed within 60 days, or you can also plant transplants that will mature even sooner. If you are not going to plant a fall garden, at least spread a layer of compost over the soil to keep the weeds down.

•Containers: While summer containers can still look pretty darn good, it’s not too early to change them out into something that will last through the winter. There is a huge palette of plant material that is appropriate for late summer planting into containers – like herbs, grasses, evergreen perennials, and small conifers. Think of using foliage and texture rather than just flowers and stuff a few bulbs underneath the plants. Containers planted in September will look fabulous into May.

•Planting: Get your hardscaping done and get those plants in the ground before Old Man Winter arrives. You will see a huge growth spurt come spring.

•Weed control: If my ground is covered with plants there will be no room for weeds. That technique works pretty well. I am also a fan of applying a few inches of compost in the fall to combat weeds.

I know this sounds like work, but it will save you so much time come spring.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, WA and can be reached at

P.S. – Sunnyside will be hosting a free class, “Happy Harvesting”, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. For details go to

Garden work now will save you time next spring
Garden work now will save you time next spring