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17 Last-Minute Fall Garden Projects

Head outdoors to savor autumn’s cooler days and tackle a few fall gardening tasks.

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Photo: Greenstreet Gardens

Pick Your Pumpkins

Whether you grow them or visit a local farmstand, fall is the time to pick your pumpkins. The saying “frost on the pumpkin” is just that — and definitely not a guide to pumpkin harvest or display. Pumpkins that experience frost don’t last as long. Another risk to early rot is a broken stem, so avoid carrying pumpkins by the stem.

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Photo: Proven Winners

Make a Gourd Vase

Draft a classic autumn icon as a vase for the last of your garden gleanings. A small pumpkin, turban squash or gourd easily hosts a blend of blooms. This display features boldly tinted coleus leaves with a pop of lantana blooms. To create a pumpkin vase, start with a flat-bottomed fruit that rests evenly on a surface. Remove the stem end and seeds. Insert a saturated block of floral foam or a water-filled jar and add fresh stems.

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Photo: Gardener’s Supply Company

Put Leaves to Work

Portable and reasonably priced, an electric leaf shredder transforms fall’s abundant leaves into a nice mulch or easily composted material. You’ll make quick work of leaves with a shredder like this one, which offers a 16:1 shredding ratio, condensing 16 traditional yard waste bags of leaves into one.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

Take Cuttings

Before frost arrives, take cuttings of favorite plants, like coleus, plectranthus or scented geraniums. Stem tip cuttings from these plants root easily to allow you to overwinter starts for next year’s containers. Also take cuttings of herbs like pineapple sage, Greek basil, mint and basil to root in water and transplant into pots to grow garden fresh flavors on your windowsill.

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