Table of Contents
  1. A fresh start.
  2. Procure the correct tools.
  3. Prepare the soil.

Cooler temperatures are always welcome. I relish the thought of my yard work slowing down and going into hibernation (for a while, at least!). Fall brings me the chance to take some time off from all of my outdoor projects and think about what I have left on my to-do list inside the home.

But before you all hang your shovels in the shed, take time to think ahead for what you want to do in our gardens in the spring. Gardening has once again become in vogue. Tilling the earth, growing your own vegetables, and canning and freezing for your family is something that many first-timers are trying out. I am passionate about gardening, but springtime will bring plenty of time for veggie talk. Fall gives me a quick opportunity to think ahead about what I (and you!) may want to do next year in my garden.

If you are a first-time gardener, fall is the time to prepare the area in which you want to house your garden. It is important to ready the ground in the fall and till it just enough so it can settle and be prepared for spring plantings. As someone who loves a traditional English approach to garden design, I have decided to relocate my garden and have started the preparations for spring.

A fresh start.

Moving a garden and starting fresh has some great benefits. Many diseases and fungi (such as tomato blight) live in the ground. After years of gardening in the same spot, it will be harder to suppress the problems your plants may suffer from. Moving the garden will give you a great reason to start anew. Also, when you plan a new space for your garden, you are able to take an evaluation of things you didn’t like about your old space.

In my own garden, I was tired of the large traditional square design that many gardeners default to. So, I decided to create a grid with large walkways in between.

Expert tip: Make sure to make the walkways wide enough for a mower!

This grid design with wide walkways will allow me to have easier access to everything I plant and keep my entire garden more organized. It will also allow for greater visibility into the growth state and health of my plants.

Procure the correct tools.

I rented a sod cutter so I could start my new garden with clean lines. (My sod cutter rental was an affordable $60 for the day.) A sod cutter allows deep cuts into the soil that will prevent grass from growing in the garden. This will ensure that the edges of the garden keep their clean lines.

Large vegetable beds in progress of being completed with strips of grass removed to create space.

Expert tip: Save the leftover sod from your tilling and use it in other places in your yard where needed.

Prepare the soil.

After cutting the sod, the only task left for this fall is to turn the dirt. Some soil may need nutrients, and it may be good to add those nutrients after tilling the dirt. Personally, I will not be adding anything special to this garden, but I will make sure to put compost from the kitchen and some manure in the garden in the spring. It is very important to turn your dirt in the fall and let it sit for the winter; it needs this time to decompose further.

Large strips of sod removed from a yard to make space for new vegetable beds with soil halfway tilled.
Two side by side images of tilled vegetables beds in a yard with grass all around.

It may be tempting to want to finish all of your yard work in the fall and not think about it again until the spring. But taking the time to plan ahead and prepare early will help you be ready by the time the snow melts next year! A good friend always reminds me that whether you garden on a small scale in pots on your patio or have rows and rows of veggies, always remember the all-important five P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Happy planning!

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. I want to build a small greenhouse. How do I make sure I can still grow veggies in the winter? Also, should it be insulated around the outside for our harsh winters in Indiana?

  2. URGENT Help! I can’t find your video on edge shovel. I want to buy one. Tomorrow 10/28/22
    Please and Thank you! Love watching and learning from you!

  3. Hi Kaleb:

    I hope you are well. I do really enjoy watching your stories and FB recipes. I have not migrated to Reels yet (how do you find those??) and I forget about insta!!

    Right now, I am trying to find your videos on planting garlic!! Can you help?
    Thank you,