In Rita's Blog

What to Keep, What to Pull

Our Lowcountry gardens can look pretty pitiful by late summer. Certainly those tall cages that were once lush with tomatoes and cucumbers contain dying plants.

Are you dreaming of broccoli, cauliflower, kale and turnips this Fall? Then, carve out a few hours to cleanup your garden now for planting.

In the Lowcountry, the Rita’s Roots Crew will begin planting in late September.

cleanup to prepare for Fall gardening

Here’s a simple breakdown to cleanup your garden so it’s ready:

Cleanup: What to Pull

  • Anything diseased and unproductive should go
  • Bug-infested kale
  • Cucumbers
  • Edamame
  • Tomatoes

Gardens are valuable real estate. So you want plants that will be generous and that you will use throughout the season.

Cleanup: What to Prune

  • Dead head any flowers
  • Eggplant + Peppers can be cut back if leggy.
  • Okra can be cut back if too tall. Remove any unruly branches.
  • Parsley (Remove any yellow or brown leaves.)

Cleanup: What to Keep

These plants will produce until frost. But if you like greens and brassicas more, then pull to make room.

  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Flowers
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peppers

Cleanup: How to Prepare

  • Check irrigation system, repair as necessary.
  • Dead plants can go to a compost pile.
  • Any plant material with diseases or infestations should be brown bagged and put on curb.
  • Amend with 2″ compost to add organic matter and microbes to the soil. Always use all purpose fertilizer when planting. Fertilizer adds a concentration of essential plant nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. We typically add 2 tbsp fertilizer to each planting hole.
  • Make notes in your garden notebook of what went well and what didn’t. For our clients, this year was great for tomatoes (one of the best we have seen!) and cucumbers. The spring drought delayed the onset of disease. As a result, eggplant and peppers were prolific as well as basil and zinnias.
  • Consider purchasing frost protection kit so you’re ready.

Fall Plant Sales + Classes

Make plans to join us for one of our Fall Plant Sales or Classes, at the Container Garten at 1630 Meeting Street. The only thing to plant before September is bush beans, which can be sown August 15.

Fall tomatoes and cucumbers can technically be planted in August. But the disease and pests are so rampant at this time of year, that we opt to not waste time and effort and skip these.

Our Services

Would you like support to help your garden reach its full, food-producing potential?

Rita’s Roots provides full-service, organic garden support for the novice and experienced gardener.

Lowcountry organic gardening, Rita and crew

We provide a custom designed plan which can include:

  • site assessment and consultation,
  • garden design and installation
  • seasonal planning
  • ongoing garden guidance and maintenance

Online Community

The doors to our online membership community, the Garden Growers Club, will re-open this Fall. Within the Club, we provide accountability and expertise to keep you on track in your garden. Join our mailing list to learn more.

Let a homegrown, organic vegetable garden be one of your joys in life. Contact us to schedule a site consultation.


cleanup to prepare for Fall gardening