Four things to do in your early autumn garden

tomatoes in early autumn Amherst NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

It’s officially autumn in Western New York, but that doesn’t mean we’re done working in our gardens.

We’ve had a lovely stretch of warm and sunny weather, so it’s been a pleasure to work outside, and that pleasant weather should continue for a few more days.

Whether you want to be productive or are just looking for an excuse to get outdoors, here are some things you can do in your garden now.

Water your plants

It has been sunny and warm– even hot– with no rain. Have you remembered to water your plants?

Plants in a container generally need more watering than the plants in a garden bed, so if you have flowers in a pot or window box, make sure they get watered.

Tomato plants and other vegetables are still producing, so they still need water. And if you planted cold-weather vegetables such as broccoli and kale, keep those plants moist.

If you’ve recently planted or transplanted perennials, you’ll want to water those to make sure they are well rooted and can withstand the freeze-thaw cycle of winter. (Scroll down to the middle of this article about winter weather  to see what you can do now to help get your plants survive the winter.)

Harvest your vegetables and herbs

In the summer, we puttered in our gardens early in the morning or relaxed there late in the evening, but as the days grow shorter, we don’t spend as much time outside. It’s easy to overlook what is still growing.

Make sure you harvest those tomatoes and other vegetables you worked so hard to plant in May. Don’t forget about herbs such as oregano, chives and sage that are probably still going strong. You can use them fresh or freeze or dry them to use later in the winter.

If you find you have more than you can use, share them with folks like Friends of Night People or a food bank or soup kitchen near you.

Pull out those weeds

If you are one of those people who have kept up with weeding all summer long, I send my congratulations and admiration. If you’ve been battling the weeds and the weeds seem to be winning, don’t worry; you’re not alone.

A lot of grasses and other annual weeds are going to seed at this time of year, so if you can pull up those weeds before those seeds drop, you may save yourself some headaches in the future.

Another big problem for me are trees, such as maples, that sprout in spots where I don’t want them. If you spot them early, you can easily yank them out. If they’ve grown larger, you’ll need to use a shovel to remove them. If you let them go too long, you’ll need to use a saw to cut the branches the best you can, especially if they’re wedged up against a fence or other tight area. If you let them get too big, they could damage your fence or other structure.

Enjoy your garden

I took my laptop out into my garden to work. As I was writing this post, I noticed with pleasure that my clematis is blooming again. Then I saw a rare treat– a dragonfly on my phlox.

If I hadn’t allowed myself to spend that extra time in my garden, I would have missed those things.

In fall, your garden can still be productive, and it can be fun, too. Enjoy!

7 Comments on “Four things to do in your early autumn garden

  1. I always enjoy your posts and they are so helpful. I also got excited because I saw my first, in forever, dragon fly too!.

    Happy Gardening, Cindy

  2. I love seeing the new blooms on my snapdragons! I still have hummingbirds coming to my fuchsia…when do they migrate?

  3. Really?? You still saw hummingbirds?? I took down my feeder in Amherst about 2 weeks ago after going a week without seeing any birds. Only bees and wasps feeding on my feeder 🙁

  4. We have trumpet vines on our patio pergola, and saw a hummingbird feeding on the blossoms yesterday. The males have gone, but some females are apparently still around.

  5. Thanks for this sweet post. As I put my garden to bed and enjoy this glorious Fall, I’m working with my friends to plan the 2015 Buffalo Cherry blossom Festival May 2. The seasons are thrilling. Our link to earth is inspiring. Trudy

  6. I saw my first hummingbird ever in my garden this summer at my trumpet vine– just when I was thinking of getting rid of my trumpet vine! I’ve done some posts on when they arrive in the spring, but I’ve never done any on when they leave. Check out this previous post for the link to a hummingbird forum. From what I gather, it’s about time for hummingbirds to move on. http://www.buffalo-niagaragardening.com/2013/04/16/hang-feeder-now-to-welcome-hummingbirds-to-western-new-york/

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