On September 22, 2017, the first day of fall arrives. Yikes, that’s next month!

Don’t worry there’s still plenty of warm weather ahead, which means lots of summer garden goodies yet to harvest. However, with the end of summer gardening season approaching, we thought we’d recommend four tips to help you wrap up the season and become a better organic gardener:

1. Start a Garden Journal (or online Google Doc)

Keeping a garden journal is incredibly helpful. The value will quickly become evident to you from season to season and year to year.

Last summer, we forgot to grow chamomile, which is one of our absolute favorite medicinal teas (it tastes like a combination of pineapple and apples). We made sure to note that we needed to grow it this summer, and are now enjoying picking handfuls of chamomile flowers each night, to be dried for later use as tea.

Last summer, we forgot to grow chamomile, which is one of our absolute favorite medicinal teas (it tastes like a combination of pineapple and apples). We made sure to note that we needed to grow it this summer, and are now enjoying picking handfuls of chamomile flowers each night, to be dried for later use as tea

You can keep a paper journal or simply use an online Google doc. The benefit of using Google docs for your journal is you can’t lose them or spill tea on them, and you can easily search them for certain words (such as plant varieties, months, etc).

Things to include in your journal after you’re wrapping up your summer gardening season:

  • What did you like most about your summer garden? What didn’t you like? This could be a new seed variety you loved, certain plant placement, garden design features, etc..
  • What do you want to do differently next summer? What do you want to make sure to do/grow again next summer?
  • What do you want to research or learn more about before the next summer rolls around? Organic methods for preventing or stopping plant diseases? Tomato growing tricks? DIY indoor grow lights? Something else? Write it down and make sure you’ve learned what you need to before it comes time to put that new knowledge to work.

2. Take Photos of Your Garden 

We ALWAYS take tons of photos of our garden each season. Why? Because our memories aren’t perfect.

Did we have kale or peas on the front of that bed last year? How did it do? Garden pictures help you remember.

Did we have kale or peas on the front of that bed last year? How did it do? Garden pictures help you remember.

The question, “What did I plant there last summer?” becomes increasingly difficult to answer after you’ve been gardening in the same spot for many years. By regularly taking photos throughout the seasons, you can easily refer back to see what you grew where, how it looked, how it performed, etc..

Nope, you don’t have to get a fancy camera. A phone camera works perfectly fine, and you can easily organize your garden photos into albums by season & year to make them even easier to locate.

3. Save Your Best/Favorite Seeds 

We LOVE seed saving and recommend that every gardener start saving their seeds as soon as possible.

These beautiful Magpie beans caught our eye this summer. We grow lots of dry beans in the summer for winter soups. We'll be saving our biggest Magpie beans from our healthiest plants to grow next summer.

These beautiful Magpie beans caught our eye this summer. We grow lots of dry beans in the summer for winter soups. We’ll be saving our biggest Magpie beans from our healthiest plants to grow next summer.

Why save your own seeds? Three good reasons:

  1. If you become good at seed saving, each new generation of seeds produces plants that are better adapted to your particular growing conditions (soil type, humidity, temperatures, pests & diseases, etc).
  2. You can also breed your own unique varieties if you’d like to.
  3. You can produce more of your favorite varieties rather than having to buy them again.

Since every seed variety requires somewhat unique seed-saving methods, we provide our members detailed seed-saving instructions for each seed variety in our online GrowGuides.

4. Get Ready For Fall Gardening 

In the not-so-distant future, cool weather will be here. Personally, we love fall and winter gardening and grow food year round – and most people living in the US can do the same with minimal effort and no additional resources required.

Nothing adds color to a cold, dreary fall or winter day like a pile of fresh organic produce from the garden!

Nothing adds color to a cold, dreary fall or winter day like a pile of fresh organic produce from the garden!

Garden-ripe, organic kale, lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, winter pea leaves, chicory, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, broccoli… There are as many delicious cool weather crops as there are warm weather crops. Cool weather also has other benefits: reduced irrigation needs and almost no plant pests and diseases are active. Woohoo!

If you’ve never done fall or winter gardening before, here are some GrowJourney articles that will help you get growing:

We hope these tips were helpful! Enjoy the last weeks of summer and all the garden goodies that come with it.

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