Fall Garden Checklist

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We ran this column last year, but I thought it might be something worth repeating. There is a new a list of fall seeding suggestions at the end.

Fall has always been a busy time of year for me. As a student and then a teacher it has always seemed like the start of a new year, yet as a farmer’s daughter and then gardener it is very much about getting ready for the end.

With all that going on, I often find it hard to keep up with everything I should be doing in the fall with my lawn and gardens and thought there might be a few others like me out there. Here is a list of fall activities to help get you and your plants ready for the coming winter. The month divisions are just a guideline since you never really know what kind of weather fall will bring in Calgary. If you read this and see that you have things done ahead of what is suggested here, yay for having stuff done! If you read this and see that there are things from the September list that you still need to do, just add them to October—just make sure you beat the snow!

A friend suggested that the first two items on this list should be:

  • do not procrastinate
  • do what you can right now

Hopefully those are a given, but if not feel free to include those on your list too!


___ Fertilize your lawn (compost works for this too).

___ Transplant shrubs or young trees to new locations.

___ Cut diseased areas out of perennials. Do not compost.

___ Rake and compost any fallen leaves or use leaves as mulch for beds. If you have a mulching mower mulch them first.

___ Clean up garden debris. Remove all vegetable plants and fallen fruit. Amend the soil and consider fall seeding a few vegetables (see suggestions below).

___ Remove dead annuals from the garden, after a frost.

___ Cut back perennial foliage to discourage overwintering pests. Leave flowers with seeds for the birds and attractive plants that provide winter interest.

___ Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.

___ Sharpen lawn mower blade and pruners before they are put away for the season.

___ Trim tall grass away from trees and corners of your home to discourage small rodents from creating nests.

___ Mulch your hardy perennial herbs like chives, sage, tarragon, and thyme.

___ Dig up tender bulbs such as dahlia, canna and gladiola, Wrap them in moist material and store in a cool, dark space.

___ Turn off outside water connections and drain garden hoses before temperatures drop to freezing.


___ Continue watering trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.

___ Turn off outside water connections and drain garden hoses if not done already.

___ Buy bulbs to force indoors over winter (look online for instructions on how to force bulbs indoors).

___ Wrap screening around fruit tree trunks to protect from small animals and harsh sun exposure.

___ Mulch rose bushes.

___ Clean fallen leaves in downspouts and gutters.


___ Start paperwhites and amaryllis for indoor winter blooms.

 Fall Planting

Bulbs: The trick with bulbs is to plant things that uninvited guests don’t want to nibble. Here are some suggestions:

  • Daffodil
  • Grape hyacinth
  • Siberian squill
  • Allium
  • Fritillaria
  • Dog’s-tooth violet
  • Glory-of-the-snow
  • Winter aconite
  • Snowdrop

Vegetables: Many vegetables seeds should be planted in the spring, but there are some that can, and occasionally should, go in the ground before winter to give you a head start on spring.

  • Asparagus (some companies claim that the roots will produce the following season, but you often have to wait a few)
  • Broad beans
  • Garlic (you must plant your garlic in the fall)
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Shallots
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Spring cabbage

List adapted from: https://landscapeontario.com/fall-gardening-checklist

Contributed by Jolene Ottosen for the Chaparral Green Thumbs

If you are interested in more information about our garden email us at chaparralgreenthumbs@gmail.com.