Most of us spend a lot of time planning our gardens in winter, planting our gardens in the spring, and then tending to our gardens in summer. But what about fall? It is all too easy to let the garden fall by the wayside as we occupy ourselves with other activities like apple picking and pumpkin patches. However, fall is actually the ideal time to set your garden up for success next year. Read on for tips on how to best prep your native plants, your garden beds, and your yard in general for the fall and winter.
Examine the Space
Start by taking stock of your situation. Look for places where the soil is bare (so you can add more nutrients), or where the plants have overgrown (so you can take some out so they have enough space). Make a list of what plants didn’t thrive and make plans to adjust the soil conditions as needed (or opt for a different plant next year). Make a list of the stuff you need to do now before the ground freezes so that it is already done and ready in the spring.
Take Herbs Indoors
If your herbs are in pots, bring them inside now. The warmth indoors will extend their season a bit, and then wintering indoors will mean you have more active plants to start out with next spring.
Add Soil Amendments
Add slow release organic fertilizers in the fall so that they can do the work of improving the soil over the fall and winter. In the spring, the growing plants will need all those extra nutrients to pull themselves out of dormancy and really thrive.
Apply Weed Killers
Now is a good time to apply weed killers to your lawn. Usually, gardeners recommend doing this twice a year, and making one of those times the falls season means that you head off any weed seeds that settled on the lawn at the end of the summer. This way they won’t take root and grow next spring before you have time to work on the yard. Pay special attention to the recommendations on the product if you have pets that use your yard.
Empty Your Rain Barrel
You need to do yearly maintenance on your rain barrel before the first frost. Empty it, remove all the hoses, and thoroughly clean it before storing it for the winter. You don’t want any water in it that could freeze and damage the barrel over the winter.
Check On Perennials
Examine your perennials, especially your native plants, for signs of disease. Remove dead and dying parts, and treat any diseases before they spread to other plants in the area.
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