Friday, 13 October 2023 13:43 Written by Jodie Fitz
Photo by Madison Jackson Photo by Madison Jackson

The fall is the perfect time to prep your garden for the spring planting season. I’m still a relative ‘newbie’ to gardening, with only a few years of trial, error, and experimentation. I always explore and search for new tips, tricks, and guidance.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a wealth of collective knowledge when it comes to growing many things. So I went straight to the experts willing to share their years of experience and expertise to help a backyard gardener! Here are a few tips they shared for preparing backyard garden beds in the fall:

Overwintering 
Overwintering prep requires homework for different herbs, chicories, etc. Some plants can be protected from the elements and left in the garden, while others need to be brought inside to continue their growth or be put into a dormant state. 

Wash Your Tools
Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, at the market weekly to answer questions and test soil, recommend you clean your tools to eliminate diseases and avoid rust.

Clean Up Your Beds
Everyone at the market agrees you should clean your garden beds at the end of the growing season and remove all debris. Consider placing it into a compost pile to build healthy soil for the next growing season.

Prep Your Beds
Corinne Hansch, the owner of Lovin’ Mama Farm, recommends sprinkling organic fertilizer and micronutrients on the soil, followed by a compost cover. Then, topped by a thick mulch of weed/seed-free straw. “We specifically like May cut rye straw,” details Corrine. 

Andrea Grom, of Green Jeans Farm, recommends using a tarp for direct sown things like carrots and radishes, while straw is nice for transplants like onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and broccoli. “Both methods help to keep the soil intact and the weeds at bay.”

Composted Soil
This year, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market collaborated on the ‘Scraps to Soil’ program with Loving Earth Compost. The market has acquired 35 bags of composted soil perfect to work into garden and flower beds. The sale benefits the market, which is a 501(c)3 organization. The first bag is $25, and each additional bag is $20; bags are good to add to a 4x6 bed.  Please reserve your composted soil by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays, from 3-6 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at High Rock Park through October. The market moves to the Wilton Mall on Saturday, November 4. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates, and sign up for our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org.

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