This is the one thing you should do when preparing your garden for fall

Not sure where to start with prepping your garden for fall? Start here, says Gardener Scott

Adirondack chairs looking out over vista in Vermont USA
(Image credit: Kevin Trimmer/ Getty)

If you're wondering where to begin your gardening prep, or want to focus on just one thing, Gardener Scott has one very helpful tip. Especially if you don't have much time to spend in the garden and tend to be hands-off with your garden maintenance, doing this one thing will vastly improve your chances of success next year.

Yes, Gardener Scott's top tip for fall gardens is actually tied in with spring garden jobs. Follow it if you skipped on garden maintenance during spring, or if you just want to get your garden into better shape now.

Gardener Scott's top tip for fall garden maintenance

Scott's tip comes from answering a gardener's query in a recent YouTube video stream. The question was, 'I decided to forgo a fall garden to really clean up and get control for spring. I'm tired of being behind the game and confused.'

To which Gardener Scott replied that 'depending on your climate, you may be able to do fall gardening and winter gardening' even if you didn't prepare for it throughout spring and summer. 'However, you have to ask yourself the question, how good is your soil?'

Woman digging a hole in the garden with a spade

(Image credit: mikroman6/Getty)

Scott explains that 'if your soil was amended in the spring then you can move forward with a fall and winter garden, because the nutrients will be there.' If you're exploring raised garden bed ideas, then now is a good time to 'put down a little compost' just to improve the soil that is already there, 'to add a little bit of a boost.'  

Dahlias in fall garden

(Image credit: thethomsn/ Getty)

'But' – and this is a big but in Scott's piece of advice – 'if you didn't do the spring amending, you might want to forgo the fall and winter garden and focus on your soil. Get your soil really boosted going into next June.'

Scott confesses he has a couple of garden beds like that, too: 'the bed I grew my garlic in didn't get amended in spring because the garlic was growing in that bed.' Because this bed 'missed out on the normal spring boost', it will be amended as soon as the garlic is harvested instead of being used for any winter crops.

Learning about composting and gradually bulking up your soil throughout the fall months will give you much better results next year. 

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.