Mendham Garden Center
Route 24, Mendham, NJ

Transitioning Your Summer Garden to Autumn

fall garden center in NJWe’re writing this in August, but our minds are focused on fall.

It’s not that we don’t want you to enjoy the rest of your summer. It’s just that Mendham Garden Center – like all good garden centers in NJ – wants its customers to be prepared for changes in the seasons.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for transitioning your summer garden to autumn. Follow these tips to get your yard ready for when September comes.

1. Say goodbye to summer annuals

Your summer flowers will have begun to fade by season’s end, but that doesn’t mean a colorless garden. Replace your summer annuals with falls blooms like pansies and mums, flowers that will match the changing leaves and survive cooler temperatures.

2. Prune your shrubs and bushes

Your bushes and hedges might begin to look kind of shaggy by summer’s end. Give them a trim before the cold weather comes, but after things cool off. Pruning during – or just after – very hot weather can put unnecessary strain on your plants. Prune dead branches to encourage growth, and avoid trimming during rainy weather to avoid fungal diseases.

3. Bring indoor plants back indoors

If you’ve been keeping indoor plants outside, it’s time bring them back into your home. But this should be a slow transition: move them into a shady part of your garden/yard for two weeks so they aren’t shocked by the lower light indoors.

And be sure to wash your plants before bringing them in – adding some systemic insecticide to the soil can help too – to avoid introducing pests to your other indoor plants.

4. Plant cool season vegetables

Your vegetable garden doesn’t need to go dormant just because summer ends. Try planting some cool weather veggies in late August/early September: spinach, beets, turnips, broccoli, top bunch collards, winterbor kale and mustard greens are all popular options for our climate.

If you don’t have room in your backyard, try growing these vegetables in a container with a lot of sun.

NJ herb garden harvest5. Gather your herbs

Late summer is also a good time to harvest the individual leaves of whatever culinary herbs you’ve been growing: basil, rosemary, sage, etc. Herb leaves develop their most intense flavor just before the plant blooms. Snip the herbs once the morning’s dew has dried, and store them somewhere dry. You can also preserve fresh basil by freezing it: finely chop it, cover it in olive oil, and then freeze it in an ice cube tray. Pop out the frozen cubes and store them in freezer bags.

6. Plant some trees

Your soil has spent the summer absorbing warmth and oxygen, making this the perfect time to plant some trees. The days are still warm, and the nights are still without frost. Consult with a gardening professional who can help you choose trees that will work best for your yard.

If you need advice on planting trees, caring for shrubs or indoor and outdoor plants or any other steps we’ve listed here, contact Mendham Garden Center.

For decades our NJ garden center has helped customers understand what’s best for their garden, no matter the season.