Your once beautiful garden is now a mass of spent vines, stubborn weeds, and greens gone to seed. Your poor, sad garden.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some simple tips to tidy up your garden and yard, which will also help prep them for next year.


Nothing looks sadder than leggy tomato vines, yellow zucchini leaves, and dried up perennials that have seen their last blooms long ago. So pull and prune the dead and dying plants in your garden.

Bury spent plants in your compost pile, but be sure to double-bag diseased and infested plants and place in the trash. You don’t need to pass along disease to the next generation of plants.


If your tomato plants are still producing fruit, keep staking and pruning until the first hard frost when they will likely die. Give birds a break by leaving some seed-bearing but spent blooms for them. They love coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans and berries.


This is the last time to pull weeds for the season. Pluck them before they flower and drop seeds throughout your garden where they rest through the winter and reappear in the spring. You want to be sure the seeds and weeds are dead before putting them in your compost pile. So bag them in a black plastic bag, place in a sunny spot for a couple of months. The heat will kill the seeds and you can then safely use for compost.


Harvesting seeds for next year’s crops can be fun and save you money at the same time. One large sunflower, for instance, can provide seeds for hundreds of plants next spring. Some guidelines:

  • Harvest seeds from both heirloom veggies and standard plants.
  • Only harvest from your healthiest plants, since disease can be spread through seeds.
  • Hybrid plants are often sterile, so don’t harvest from them or you will be disappointed.
  • Only harvest seeds from dry and faded blooms and pods. Mature seeds are often cream colored or brown.
  • After drying the seeds, store in envelopes or glass jars in a cool, dry place.


Bundle bamboo stakes, stack metal cages and store in a dry place. Instead of throwing out broken cages and support stakes, repurpose them. Broken stakes can be used to support smaller plants, and snipping off broken cage legs will allow you to use them for pepper supports.

So take heart, your untamed garden can be managed if you learn how to take control of it now. And you will be happier in the spring.


*Thanks to ‘houselogic’ for the above information.