Fall Garden To-Do List

1. Check local planting schedules about purchasing seeds locally or online and when to plant them. Put important dates and reminders on a home calendar or smartphone calendar app.

2. Reflect back on the year so far and lessons learned. What did or didn't do well in the spring? Some of those crops can be planted again in the fall.

3. Clear out finished or spent plants from spring plantings. These plants can harbor pests and diseases if left in their beds. If tomatoes make it through the summer, remove the dead leaves and prune.

4. Add soil amendments to replenish beds. Compost is a must, as it adds vital organic matter. Other amendments include greensand, molasses, alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal and worm castings.

5. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Consider using a thick layer of mulch that will break down into the soil. My favorite is chopped grass clippings and dried leaves. Moisture retention will be critical in the "warm" early part of the fall.

6. Prepare strong defenses. This year has been especially bad for pests due to a mild winter. Stock up on or prepare organic pest controls like garlic pepper tea and insecticidal soap.

7. Consider a drip irrigation system to provide consistent moisture. It is well worth the cost in time and money, especially with the inclusion of an automatic timer.

Greg Holdsworth is owner of Your Own Victory Garden, which installs organic vegetable gardens and builds custom garden structures. For more information, call 214-517-9890 or visit


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