Odds are, you have spent all of spring and summer meticulously maintaining your lawn and garden.  After all of that time and hard work, it can be hard to say goodbye as the seasons change.  Well, luckily for you, you don't have to say farewell, even as the leaves begin to fall.  It just so happens that fall is the perfect time for rolling up your sleeves, pulling out your green thumb and doing some work outside.  

Eat ‘em Up

There are some real benefits in taking the time to revamp your garden after the summer months have passed.  In the fall, you will likely have to fight fewer pests in your precious garden.  In the fall, many of the most common offenders have completed their above ground life cycle, leaving you more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and less time battling bugs.  You will also have the chance to harvest some good-for-you foods that don’t tolerate the warm temperatures as well, making fall their prime time for planting.  

Beets

The cooler soil temperatures of the fall months allow beets to cultivate a sweater flavor while they are safely tucked away below the dirt.  Because of this sheltered spot, most beets can continue to grow past the first frost, and even up until your garden experiences its first hard freeze of the season, allowing you to enjoy a healthy dose of vitamins C, A and iron for weeks to come.  

Arugula

In the mood for a good salad?  Some home grown arugula will certainly hit the spot.  When planted in the warmer months, arugula can quickly go to flower, shortening its harvesting window and diminishing its taste.  However, when planted in the cooler months, the plant has more time to mature, leaving it better tasting, as well as lengthening the time that it can be harvested from your garden, satiating your greed for the green stuff.  

Kale

In recent years, this gorgeous green guy has seen a sharp uptick in popularity.  Whether it is for your salad, your smoothie, or to make chips (we know, not as satisfying as the original), kale is a great veggie to plant in the fall and enjoy well into the cooler months.  It grows quickly, making it a good choice for those seeking a quick reward, and handles colder temperatures well, giving it staying power in your fall garden.  

Stop and smell the flowers

Many plants that bloom in the spring actually need to be planted in the fall months in order to thrive.  Take a bit of time now, and enjoy your efforts when the seasons turn.  

Bulbs

Spring-time bloomers like tulips and hyacinths need to be planted in the fall, and spend the following months enjoying the cold before popping their pretty heads out the following spring.  Once the ground has frozen, add a layer of mulch to the area where you have planted.  This adds a layer of insulation, and protects them from the cycles of freezing and thawing that occur through the winter months.  

Pansies

These pretty little plants are perfect for planting in the fall.  You’ll want to plant the flower, not from seed, and do so while the ground is still warm, so that the roots have a chance to take hold and really establish themselves before winter really sets in.  The added bonus of doing it this way?  You get to enjoy the beauty of these babies now, and then in the spring when they bloom again.  Who doesn’t love a good two-for-one?  Just like your bulbs, you’ll want to give them a little extra love though, just as temperatures really begin to drop, and place a thick layer of mulch around them.  

Lawn Love

While it may seem counterintuitive, fall is the best time for laying new sod, or seeding your existing lawn or green spaces.  

Cooler temperatures, paired with the increased rain that come with the onset of autumn make this a great time for laying down an entirely new lawn with the help of rolls and rolls of sod.  Waiting until the high temperatures of the summer have calmed down a bit will decrease your chances of having your pretty new lawn fall victim to the scorching heat and drying out.  You’ll need to be mindful of your calendar, however.  You want to give your sod a chance to establish a strong root system before it gets too cold, so plan on laying it down 4-6 weeks before your ground is expected to freeze.  You may be working with a narrow window between temperature extremes, so planning ahead is key.  

If you are painting by seed, spread over the bare spaces that you are hoping to coax back to life and then cover with a light layer of compost and keep watering until the cold really sets in and the ground begins to freeze.