What helps you get outside to do the dirty work of fall clean up? What gets you bogged down and depressed about trying? We know basically what needs to be done and why. The trick is to present the tasks to ourselves in ways that will get us out there. Here are some self-motivating and time management thoughts that help me:

1. Any progress is better than none. Congratulate myself for each thing that gets done, no matter how small it looks compared to the big picture.

2. Every weed disposed of is one less to go to seed. Even if it has seed heads when I pull it, I am probably containing some of the seeds. A bag over the top of it before you pull can help with this.

3. It is easier to clean up frost damaged plant foliage before it gets totally mushy from a hard freeze.


4. When clean up is done before total frost kill, there are sometimes hidden treasures of protected produce to be found.


5. Any unusable produce (overgrown, over ripe, frost damaged) is easier to collect and dispose of before it has gotten too rotten and soft.

6. Collecting the above produce cuts down on weeding out unwanted volunteers in the spring.

7. The chickens can get a lot of nutrition out of produce in this stage, but not much from plant matter that has melted into the ground.

8. It is nicer to get out for clean up before the deep cold of winter.

9. Root vegetables, spent garden plants, and weeds are pretty much impossible to dig out of frozen ground that will come later.

10. Some of the bad bugs are hanging around in the plants still, but are sluggish, so can be grabbed up with plant debris.


11. It is nicer to clean up now than when the ground is very soggy in the spring from all the snow melting and spring rains.

12. There are always some fall crops that are found still producing.

13. It reminds me of seed collection that can still be done, whether for next year’s planting or for edibles.

14. It is good exercise at a time just prior to a lot of festive eating.

15. Soon, it will be too cold to go outside very much, so I should get the fresh air while I can.

16. It keeps me warmer overall to get outside and be active as much as I can.

17. Christmas decorations look better on a cleaned up yard.

18. It is much more enjoyable to enter spring with an already (at least partially) prepared garden bed.

For me, fall is an odd combination of relief from the intensity of the growing season and disinterest due to everything dying. When people speak of beautiful fall colors, I think they might as well be proclaiming the joys of clogged gutters. However, a comparatively dead landscape looks better when it is cleaned up and gives my mind peace for the winter. Spring will come again.


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