Autumn can be a busy time for gardeners and the last chance at harvest before winter. The best time to plant a fall garden is typically September and October. With unpredictable weather in Montana, it is wise to plant in September to avoid the chance of inclement weather. 

The Roots Garden Center in Billings says trees and shrubs are still okay to plant in the fall, which they sell daily. The Garden Center also sells chrysanthemums or “mums,” which can be planted six weeks before the killing frost. Mums will give your garden a pop of color that is perfect for an autumnal feel. It is best to water underneath these flowers rather than on top. It is also a good idea to cover them from the rain, so they do not get damaged by heavy rainfall. 

Gardening Know How says it is a good idea to check the growing zone of your state. Montana is usually in the 3-4 growing zone, with a portion of northwest Montana in zone 6. Fall perennials typically do well in Montana, like chrysanthemums. Fall vegetables that can be planted include broccoli, lettuce, radishes, peas, and more. 

Raking leaves around trees can be used as mulch for gardens or added to a compost pile instead of bagging it up. Removing dead plants or vegetables from your garden can also be added to a compost pile. If they are left out in the yard to rot, there may be pesticides or diseases inside the rotten plants that overwinter in the soil. It is also a good idea to collect any seed heads to use for later. 

Fall gardening is also the perfect opportunity to do a few outdoor clean-up tasks, like draining garden hoses and storing them away for the winter. Other cleaning tasks to prepare for include checking to see if your irrigation system is blown out. Remove rust from gardening tools and oil them to keep them in good condition. Clean and sharpen mower blades, shovels, and other gardening tools. 

Make your garden beautiful for the autumn season while preparing for the winter season.