Many people tend to think that once the first frost arrives, they won’t have to worry about the garden until the next spring. No more pulling weeds, hoeing, digging, pruning, watering or raking. The truth is, the idea that the gardening is over once you pull that last carrot or snip that last rose, is completely wrong. If you put some time in during the fall to do a little cleaning, maintenance and planning, you can save yourself lot of work when gardening season rolls around next spring.
Chores for Early Autumn
In early autumn remove the any dead flowers and leaves from rose bushes and clean any debris from around the base of the plants. Rotting plant material left on the ground around plants can contain diseases or other plant pests that can survive the winter and infest plants in the spring unusual weed pipes.
As summer flowers fade add some fall color to your home and garden with hardy plants such as mums, flowering cabbage, or marigolds. The traditional autumn celebrations can also be a time to add some extra color in the form of pumpkins, gourds or dried corn. Just because the warm weather has ended doesn’t mean you have to give up color around the exterior of your home or in your garden.
This is the time to prepare the ground for next year’s plants. Many people like to till their vegetable gardens in the fall in order to get a head start on next spring. The same applies for flower beds by spading up the soil and adding fertilizer.
Purchase your fall bulbs now. Dig out all those gardening catalogs and order bulbs for fall planting or check your local garden or farm store for a wide variety of bulbs that will give you some great color in early spring.
If you want to do some landscaping, early fall is the perfect time. Shrubs and perennials planted in early autumn will have time to establish their root systems before the really cold weather sets in. Plus in many areas where rain is common in the fall, the plants will get plenty of moisture without having to constantly water them.
Things to Do in Mid Fall
As autumn progresses and all the leaves are finally off the trees, it’s time to bring out the rakes. Raking leaves may not be your favorite pastime but don’t be tempted to leave them on your lawn or garden because they can harbor insects and encourage the growth of mold and mildew. The leaf decay can also mat down and choke out the grass and you’ll end up with brown spots on your lawn. So rake up the leaves and put them in the compost bin or even till them into the garden.
Put out some bird feeders for your feathered friends. They’ve worked hard all year keeping the insects out of your garden and food can be scarce for the birds in late fall so show your appreciation and keep a few feeders filled with their favorite seeds.
Getting Ready for Winter
Once you’ve done your cleaning, raking and preparing lunch for the birds, it’s time to give some attention to your garden tools before you put them away. Clean of any dirt or rust with a wire brush and rub on a little oil to protect them over the winter and hang in a dry place such as your garage or garden shed. If you live in one of the colder climates with freezing winter temperatures, don’t forget to turn off the water to the outside faucet and drain the pipe. Also drain the garden hoses, roll them up and place along side your garden tools.
It’s true that preparing your garden for winter can be a bit of extra work, but if you do it now you’ll have a lot less to do in the spring and that will give you a head start on having the best garden in the neighborhood.