The Vegetable Garden

Zones 3-4 Garden Calendar and Monthly Garden Tips - Sep - Dec

September Tips

Cut out raspberry and blackberry canes that have just finished fruiting.Now is a good time to evaluate the success of this year's garden. Make notes that will help you improve your garden next spring.

October Tips


Harvest winter squash and pumpkins as they ripen and vines begin to brown (but before a hard frost). Cure the fruits in a warm location for a few weeks - this helps toughen the skin which leads to better storage life. After curing, store squash for winter use in a cool, dry location.Apples are ripening now. Taste apples to check ripeness - ripe fruits should have a good sugar to acid balance and lack a starchy taste.Continue to water lawns, trees, shrubs, and other perennial plants as needed until the ground freezes. Remember to disconnect the hose if night temperatures will be below freezing or you risk a burst faucet pipe!Now is the time to work on sealing up all cracks around windows, doors, and elsewhere on your house to keep out pesky box elder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles. If necessary, treat the exterior with residual insecticide.

November Tips

Rake excess leaves and mow the lawn one last time if needed.If you haven't made a final lawn fertilizer application get it done in early November. Be sure to sweep up any fertilizer spilled in streets, sidewalks, or driveways, and thoroughly water in fertilizer if rain doesn't do the job.Dig remaining root crops like parsnips, fall radishes, and carrots before the ground freezes. Cold-tolerant crops like Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, spinach, and some other greens will tolerate temperatures in the mid to upper 20s, but harvest them when colder temperatures threaten.Empty and store clay pots - they can break outdoors when freeze/thaw cycles occur. Scour the yard for stray garden tools. Clean and store tools and other garden ware.Add a winter mulch of straw, hay, or leaves to bulb and perennial beds after the ground starts to freeze. Winter mulch helps moderate soil temperatures and prevent heaving from spring freeze/thaw cycles.

December Tips


Clean and oil your tools for winter storage if you have yet done so. This is also an excellent month to replace any tools that should be retired while the demand and prices are both low.Prepare! Start planning your garden for next year. Review notes you have taken from this year and start the daydreaming with your catalogs.