What NOT to do:
Let's be honest since we're besties and all. I have done everything completely out of order this summer. Read my post about it here: A Tale of Two Gardens. The proper thing to have done would've been to plan and execute the hardscaping first early in the year while the weather was cold, along with organizing the potting shed. THEN plant a garden. Of course, I should have done the porch (read about that here) in spring as soon as the pollen storm was over. But no! I did ALL of the things so I could redo all of the things.
In July. In Memphis.
Do this instead:
I do not recommend doing twice the work because your timing is terrible. And if you are planning a garden for next year, right now is the perfect time to get your act together. This fall and winter is the time to do a new garden layout and put in pathways.
Also starting your composting or setting up your lasagna garden should be done now if that's how you roll. All winter you'll be keeping things from ginormous depressing landfills because they'll be cooking along in your happy little compost pile.
According to Scientific American, "We throw away 25% of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption." Feeling guilty? Me too. We often think that if it's biodegradable it's okay to toss it in the trash but in a landfill, those scraps produce methane gas. In your garden, they produce food for worms and eventually soil. It's kind of a no-brainer.
I'll be recycling cardboard boxes right into the garden for weed control as well.
If you have planted a fall garden then you have a ways to go to keep tending that until the first frost date which in Memphis and surrounding areas (zone 7 (a and b) is November 15th. I had good intentions for a fall garden. But the soil was so depleted after redoing everything it needs time to rest and regenerate.
I'm trying to avoid my own personal Dust Bowl over here.
Right now my main focus, besides watching for the perfect honey harvesting day, is composting and rooting plants for next year.
Since I'm not looking to attract less than charming creatures I do compost the kitchen waste into a bin with the appropriate other goodies necessary for a happy hot compost pile. But grass cuttings, the contents from the vacuum (I know. Ew.), leaves, and paper from the shredder are going right into the beds in layers.
Read my more detailed composting post here.
This is also the time to work on your leaf mold for next year. This is a huge thing in the UK but for some reason not so much in the US. Probably because we are such an impatient lot. The whole process can take 2-3 years. But it isn't like it's work or anything. You rake the leaves into a pile, I'm using some old fencing to contain mine and then you just pile them in there and wait. You can get fancier if you want but remember forests have been doing this for thousands of years without any interference from you.
If you are starting from scratch then this is the time to start thinking about your overall plan. That way you'll have all winter to complete a design, collect materials, and put in your hardscaping while your compost is cooking. Plus if you want something sexy like a wood chipper you can put it on your Christmas list.
You genius, you.
What I'm doing next:
Only half my garden got made over in the heat of summer because the other half is closer to the beehives and I also have several things that need to be moved in winter while they are dormant. This gives me the chance to do it correctly and I'll be sharing that with you over the winter. I love do overs, don't you?
Bee posts and updates are on the way soon! I'm gearing up for harvesting but that all depends on the weather.