Start planning next year’s garden now

When the garden season began, did you start taking notes or notice any changes you would like to make? Is your yard square or boring? Do you want to add some zing?

If so, go out right now and begin marking where you want to add a garden bed or structure next spring. I like to use a garden hose to mark an outline of that bed.

Lay the hose on the ground and create gentle curves. Cover the area with black plastic. Over the winter, this will kill the grass or any other plant material underneath.

In the past, one of my customers cut off his toes while mowing his lawn on a steep hillside.

For better safety, I had him cover the area with black plastic over the winter. In the spring, I used compost, rocks, and plants to create a nice garden. Now he doesn’t have to mow a hillside and hurt himself.

Another tip is to bring in some nice 3-way or 4-way topsoil and create berms.

A berm is a raised area of soil with sloping sides. Our soils aren’t the best in the Pacific Northwest, and it would be a lot easier to plant in a berm than trying to pick ax in hardpan.

With the dry weather now, think of next year and make sure that the plants you get will have the right amount of water. Maybe it’s time for an irrigation system as well?

Flip through some garden books and get a design down on paper to help you shop for those plants this fall.

Lawn tip: Keep pulling those weeds. You could also cover the weed with black plastic. If you kill the grass, that’s okay. In spring, it will be time to thatch and over seed the grass as well as top dress with compost.

Happy Gardening,

Gardener Joe

Contact Gardener Joe at


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