This morning, I went outside to pick the last tomatoes and beans from my garden. We had our first frost here in Cincinnati a couple of days ago, so the garden is looking like it's about finished. My next big project is to begin fall cleanup. If you're getting ready to do the same, here are a few tips:
1. Remove all tomato and potato plants. If you still have tomatoes on the vine, you can hang the plants upside down in your garage, or wrap the unripened tomatoes in newspaper. Either way, they will ripen. (Or you can just make fried green tomatoes.)
2. Compost the debris. (See my gardening tip on composting.)
3. Do a soil test. This is a good time to add the proper amounts of lime if needed.
4. Trim off old foilage, pull out dying annual plants, and divide spring blooming plants like iris, daffodils, and black-eyed Susans.
5. Keep coneflowers standing, as they povide good food for the birds.
6. Leave veggies like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes in the ground. As they decompose in the spring, they release cyanide compounds that kill harmful wireworms.
After you've done all that work, you can begin planning for next year's garden!