Garden notes

Fall Tips  2017

 

Fall is right around the corner and for gardeners, this means winter is not too far behind. As winter begins to get closer and the temperature begins to slowly drop it’s important to take action now to prepare your garden for the colder months that lie ahead. To keep your garden from becoming a casualty of the winter season, follow these simple tips to stay ahead of the cold so that your garden flourishes in the spring.

Once you realize the days are slowly becoming shorter, it’s time to anticipate the first frost. Make sure that your garden is prepped for winter before the first frost hits.

• Begin by weeding your garden. Now that’s its September, you probably haven’t been showing your garden as much love as you used to. Most gardeners tend to get a bit lazy during the fall. That’s right, you all know who you are. Get the grunt work done now or you’ll have twice as much to pull out later when it’s colder outside and even more work to do the following spring. Pull weeds, clear any debris, and rake dead leaves so that they don’t suffocate other plants in your garden when they become damp and heavy. Be sure to compost any dead leaves around your garden and lawn to be used later the following year. This will give you nutrient rich soil for your perennials and annuals to grow.

• Another tip is to lay down mulch. Laying down a layer of mulch can be very beneficial for your garden. Mulch is not just for decoration around your bushes in your front yard. It’s also a natural protector for your garden bed when the ground freezes over in the winter. It keeps the ground from becoming too cold or drying out destroying any bulbs you may have left for spring.

• Another important tip to prepare your garden for winter is to pull your annuals and cut back your perennials. I often leave on the seed heads of many of my perennials because many of our birds such as finches love to eat them.

• To store summer flowering bulbs, dig the bulbs when the foliage has withered or turned brown by a light frost. Air dry in a well-ventilated area for a week. Then remove all soil from the bulbs. Bulbs must be dried before storing or they will rot. Dust the bulbs with a fungicide and store in dry peat moss or wood shavings in a brown paper bag, open crate, netted bag or even old pantyhose. Store at 50-55-degrees in a dry location until time to replant.

• Now is the time to evaluate your garden. Make notes on what performed well, what didn’t and what you would like to do differently next spring. If you grew a vegetable garden this year and found it challenging don’t give up. We had a wet season and many things struggled, not only veggie but many annuals did as well. Remember that Mother Nature is a female and we females can be difficult at times.

• Finally, once you have cleaned your garden and successfully prepped it for winter, plant spring bulbs. Winterizing your garden is not just about cleaning and raking; it’s about preparing for months that lie ahead so that your plants flourish in the spring. Plant spring bulbs now so that their roots take hold within the dirt and when the weather warms up, they are ready to sprout from the earth and soak up the sun. Follow these simple tips to prepare your garden for the colder months ahead so that your garden awakens healthy and ready next spring.