While you may be distracted with the thoughts of autumn – sipping a pumpkin spice concoction in a cozy sweater – instead of yard work, sometimes our yards and gardens need a little bit of prep work before the cold weather comes. Enjoy the last few sunny days with double-digit temperatures by being outside, getting a jump-start on spring with these fall garden chores.
Will you really go out to get rid of your dead summer plants in the spring? Get rid of them now! You can still have a nice display under the snow, so leave strategic plants like ornamental grasses, hostas and sedums (stonecrops) for a wintery garden and even food for the birds. If you’d rather use your dead plants for compost, just dig them under the soil. Covering them will help speed up the composting process.
While some leaves are great for garden mulch, remove any which are showing black spots. This can lead to disease in the spring. You’ll want to rake leaves up from your lawn too. Leaving them on your lawn could suffocate it over the winter and hinder spring growth.
If you want to move larger vines such as honeysuckle or clematis, fall is the only time to do it without shocking its growth since it starts to grow when frost is still on the ground.
There are certain garden items which flourish when planted in the fall and now is the time to do it.
Shrubs – Evergreens and certain deciduous flowering shrubs can make for good autumn planning. If you plant evergreens before the ground freezes, their system keeps them watered all winter long. The deciduous shrubs can be planted even after spending the summer in a container. The cooler soil temperatures can make for strong root growth.
Garlic – look for a hearty Rocambole type of garlic and plant 8 cm deep and 15 cm apart in a sunny area filled with lots of manure dug into the soil. Top with 8 cm of mulch and they’ll be ready for harvest in July (just don’t forget where you planted them!).
Bulbs – planting Oriental lilies in the fall will help them to flower properly in the spring. Planting them in clumps and then soaking the area in water will help to deter pesky animals digging them up.
Flowers – Icicle pansies will bloom into December, but if you cover them with mulch after they go dormant, they will grow again in the spring.
Protect your gardens from winter harshness, and prevent spring weed growth by using small leaves from trees like birch or or beech or making your own from wet newspaper covered with straw or compost. Burlap – don’t wrap bushes and shrubs too tightly with burlap as it could actually trap moisture which when it turns to ice could damage your plants. Instead, create a barrier using burlap and stakes, which protect, but don’t touch the plants.
By doing just a little bit of work now, your garden will be ready for your green thumb in the spring!