Home & Garden

Garden Checklist: Fall’s nearly here, so get to work

Bok choy can be planted now.
Bok choy can be planted now. Bigstock

Are you ready for a change of seasons? Autumn officially starts on Wednesday, a little later than the traditional first day of fall. But that date marks the arrival of the autumnal equinox, when the hours of day and night are equal. Also on that date, the sun rises due east and sets due west.

It’s also time to put full focus on preparing the fall garden for the cooler (and, we hope, wetter) seasons ahead.

Plant cool-season vegetables such as bok choy, spinach, peas, radishes, carrots and lettuce; the warm ground will get these fall crops off to a fast start.

Transplant seedlings for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

Sow California poppy seeds for a golden spring.

Transplant cool-weather annuals such as calendula, cyclamen, fairy primroses, pansies and violas.

Cultivate and add compost to the soil for fall and winter vegetables and annuals.

Dig, divide and replant overgrown perennials after they finish blooming. Weed and amend flower beds before replanting.

Divide and replant bulbs and rhizomes. Pay attention to your bearded iris; they like to be divided and replanted every three years to keep blooming.

Put tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting. Bulbs chilled now will be ready to plant in mid-November. While chilling bulbs, keep apples out of the refrigerator; the fruit releases ethylene gas that may rot the bulbs.