Fall Gardening & Seed Libraries: Helpful Tips, Masterful Resources & Great Books

Posted on September 6, 2023 at 6:00 am

Gardener cuts rose leaves off with pruner to prepare bush for winter. Work in autumn garden. Taking care of plants

By Crystal Miller

September is a great time to start getting your garden ready for the long winter ahead and the coming spring.

Fall Garden Cleanup with a Master Gardener

Our Fall Garden Cleanup class in September is an informative class led by Marilyn Lloyd of the WSU Extension Spokane County Master Gardeners. She discusses the importance of fall cleanup in the garden, along with easy steps to get it all done. No registration is needed, and you can attend any one of the five classes:

Fall Garden Cleanup

Wednesday, Sep 13, 6–7pm

Sunday, Sep 17, 2–3pm

Wednesday, Sep 20, 6–7pm

Saturday, Sep 23, 11am–12pm

Tuesday, Sep 26, 6–7pm

Be on the lookout for more gardening programs starting in October, including Growing Garlic, Growing Winter Bulbs, and Indoor Plant Swaps.

Fall Garden Resources

WSU Extension Spokane County Master Gardeners share some practical seasonal gardening advice on their website. For the upcoming seasons, here are some tips they share:

Fall: The average date of the first frost ranges from early to late fall. Check your dates on Washington First Average Frost Date Map. Begin watching weather reports at this time in order to protect frost-sensitive plants. Even after the first frost, we can usually expect several weeks of warm temperatures.

Winter: Freezing temperatures, snow and ice. When planning your garden, consider that we are mostly in USDA Zone 6b, but we can plant a large variety of plants by using protective methods such as mulches, tree wraps, wind breaks and utilizing micro climates for more tender plants.

The Master Gardeners’ website also has a helpful document with lists of seasonal work to do in the garden, covering tasks month by month.

Here are their tips for September:

  • Keep after the weeds.
  • Water perennials when needed.
  • Plant new perennials as soon as possible.
  • Dig and divide perennial herbs.

Produce Swaps at Our Libraries

If your crop has been bountiful this year and you would like to swap produce, bring your garden goods to a weekly produce swap!

Drop into the library to share your extras (fresh produce only) and take home something different from another garden. Any leftovers will be delivered to a local food bank or community kitchen.

Here’s the September list of library Produce Swaps:

Produce Swap

Mondays in September, 10am–5pm

Tuesdays in September, 10am–7pm

Thursdays in September, 10am–3pm

Fridays in September, 10am–5pm

Saturdays in September, 10am–5pm

Seed Libraries & Seed Returns

Our seed libraries are looking to be filled up by generous local gardeners! While you’re harvesting your crops, you can bring in any seeds you’ve saved to one of the participating libraries and add them to the seed library.

Our seed libraries accept heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seed donations year-round, during open hours. Be sure to clearly separate and label the seeds you bring in the library for donation. Starting next spring, you can borrow seed envelopes from any of our seed libraries:

  • Cheney Library
  • Fairfield Library
  • North Spokane Library
  • Otis Orchards Library
  • Spokane Valley Library

Benefits of Gardening

Did you know that gardening is good for your health?

According to the Cleveland Clinic (5 Benefits of Gardening That Can Improve Your Health – Cleveland Clinic), gardening contributes to osteoporosis prevention by increasing access to vitamin D by being outside in the sun and by providing a weight-bearing exercise while digging in the dirt.

Gardening has also been shown to improve brain health due to the therapeutic effect for those with dementia. While gardening, the sense of satisfaction and mindfulness can improve your mental health.

Another benefit is seeing the progress of your garden, which can help you gain the feeling of accomplishment as you see your efforts literally grow and bloom. While you’re out gardening, either in your own garden or in a community garden, the chance of social interaction increases as well, which can add to the positive mental health benefits.

Four-Season Gardening Books

Book cover of Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

For tips, tried-and-true advice, and ways to garden through all the seasons, check out this list of books from our catalog:

We also have a bountiful list of eBooks available in our OverDrive digital collection and the Libby app: Cultivate This! From Garden to Table.

As the colder months grow near, I wish you a productive fall of planning and preparing for winter and a fun gardening season once spring arrives again.

Librarian Crystal Miller

Crystal Miller is a Business and Career Development Librarian at Spokane County Library District as well as the Community Librarian for Cheney Library, creating library programs, connecting with the Cheney community, and supporting local businesses and job seekers. In her free time, she enjoys her daily walks with her two dogs, trying out new recipes, and listening to audiobooks on the Libby app!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,