preparing garden for fall

pureguavaAugust 5, 2013

Okay, I confess I am a total newbie at in-ground gardening, but I am so happy to have found this forum. I just bought a house in Longmont, CO with a HUGE garden in the back. It is currently completely overrun with weeds and 12 foot tall sunflowers. I am feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start to prepare the garden for fall. Ideally I'd like to plant a few cold-weather crops like maybe onions and greens. Here are my questions:
1) Can I compost the sunflowers? They are giants and there are a lot of them. I have a tumbling composter and a big heap left behind by the former owner.
2) I'd like the garden to be plantable come spring. Should I mulch or plant a cover crop to keep down weeds?
3) Is there anything I plant in a small sunny corner this time of year that I could harvest this fall?
4) Any other tips for a brand new gardener?

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david52 Zone 6

1) sure - it will be easier if you cut them in pieces, the smaller the better. You can run over them repeatedly with a lawn mower, use a piece of wood with a machete, and chop them, or just use pruning shears and get a great upper-body workout.

2) I'd go with a mulch - cardboard covered with what ever organic matter you can find. I've never had much luck with cover crops.

3) Kale is great. Thats my big fall crop

4) Welcome to the forum! This fall, if you concentrate on killing off the weeds by mulching over them cardboard, leaves, compost, etc. you'll be building the soil at the same time. It may not look all that great, but the result is worth it, IMO.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Guava,

Ditto everything David said! The only thing I'd add is that if your "weeds" include bindweed and/or thistles I'd recommend giving them a good spray with Roundup or Weed-B-Gon a few days to a week before you cover them up with the cardboard and organic matter. Both of those have really hard to kill roots and the herbicide would help to weaken them first.

But I really just signed in to say welcome to RMG! Glad you found us!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 1:03AM
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Welcome! My fiance and I bought a house in Longmont (end of March) with a crazy garden that is already established but is super overrun. We didn't know it when we bought it but it has over 50 roses, tons of phlox, lilies, daisies, lupins, peonies, black eyed susans and a bunch of other plants I don't know. I am in way over my head although I love the plants, I don't know a thing about caring for them, and have been learning through trial and error. I am so happy to find this forum and hear that I'm not alone in my gardening newbie-ness! So far I have managed to not kill anything. Hooray! I hope you like Longmont as much as I do...maybe we can share tips!
Get some great leather gloves, and don't use the city mulch if you can help it- I ended up with a bunch more weeds.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:15PM
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