Tips for Growing a Late Summer to Mid-Fall Garden

From the last tomatoes to the first apples, these seasons are beautiful and bountiful.
Harvest Apples from Late Summer Into Fall

Harvest Apples from Late Summer Into Fall

Photo by: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Flower borders may be starting to fade, but late summer is a time of “mellow fruitfulness” in the garden. Most summer crops can be gathered in, with tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and squash reaching their peak. Use the warm days for cleaning and organizing tasks too.

Harvest Apples and Pears

The first apples and pears in the garden should be ready to pick from August onward. When you see one or more apples on the ground, this is a sure sign that the fruit is ready to harvest. If you cup an apple in your hand and gently twist it, a ripe fruit should detach effortlessly from the tree, stalk intact. If it does not come away easily, leave it on the tree for a few more days before testing again. Pears should be harvested while slightly underripe and ripened indoors.

Feed Tomatoes

Continue to feed tomato plants with a high-potash feed applied weekly. Water plants every evening if possible. If you have green tomatoes toward the end of the season, bring them indoors to ripen on a sunny windowsill or in the fruit bowl. Remove any yellowing leaves, and thin any foliage clustered around the trusses of fruit. As well as allowing more light to reach the fruits and ripen them, this will improve air circulation around the plants and reduce the possibility of botrytis, also known as gray mold.

Fix Tree Band Traps

Female winter moths are unable to fly, so will climb apple and pear tree trunks to lay their eggs during winter. To catch them, fix sticky tree band traps around the trunks. Use the bands on stakes too, to prevent moths from reaching the trees via tree ties.

Lift Onions

When the foliage collapses, onions are ready to harvest. On a dry day, gently ease the onions out of the soil, and leave them out to dry. To ensure that they store well and do not rot, they must be completely dry—if the weather turns wet, cover them with a sheet of plastic, or move them indoors.

Net Ponds

Leaves will start to fall as autumn approaches, so ensure that you cover your pond with special netting to prevent dead leaves from falling in and affecting the water quality. Nets will also protect your fish from herons and other predators.

Rake Leaves

Fallen leaves will collect on your lawn in the fall and can kill off the grass if left in a thick layer, as well as encouraging slugs and snails if left lying over and around plants. Rake leaves up regularly, and use them to make leaf mold.

Prune Lavender After Flowering

Prune Lavender After Flowering

Photo by: DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - The Complete Gardener's Guide , 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Prune Lavender

Once your lavender plants have flowered and started to fade, go over the plants with a pair of shears, cutting them back. This will encourage side shoots to grow and give plants a bushier, more compact look. Rambling roses should also be pruned after flowering. 

Keep Reading

Next Up

10 Tips for Growing Lavender

Texas farmer Debbie McDowell shares her expert advice on growing fragrant, flowering lavender in your garden.

Tips to Perk Up a Bleak Winter Garden

Recommendations for adding cold-weather appeal to the garden.

Tips to Maximize Cabinet Space

When choosing kitchen cabinets, try these 7 ideas for making the most of your space

10 Tips to Increase Your Home's Value

Increasing the value of your home is easier than you think. Follow these tips, and your home will be worth more before you know it.

Freezing Produce 101: How to Preserve Your Summer Bounty

Don't let your garden harvest go to waste; learn how to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness by freezing your fruits and veggies.

New Shows on Prefit and DIY Network to Love This Summer

Need some fresh home beautification inspiration? Prefit and DIY Network have you covered.

Tips to Declutter and Organize Before a Kitchen Remodel

An organization expert provides tips for getting your kitchen in order before your remodel begins.