As the weather warms up in the spring, our thoughts turn to gardening. But all too often, we realize there was a list of things we should have done in the fall to prepare for it. Here are a few things you should put on this fall’s gardening to-do list.
Many diseases and insects will thrive over the winter in leftover plant debris. This is why it’s important to clean out your spent garden plants before the snow flies, and get them into your compost pile. Just don’t compost any plants you suspect are diseased, and be careful not to include any weed material.
2. Flower Bulbs
Fall is usually the best time to plan your flower bulbs. If you won’t be planting them, store them in a cool, dry place. You’ll need to plant in cooler temperatures, which may be October or November, depending on where you live. Now is also the time to harvest and plant any perennial seeds you’ll want for next spring.
3. Stockpile Organic Material
Before you throw those dried leaves in the trash, consider their value as organic matter. Broken down, those leaves can add valuable nutrients to your soil. You can actually mow over them on your lawn, which shreds them up. Rake that shredded material into your garden beds where they’ll break down rather quickly (don’t leave them on the lawn). You can also compost them.
Fall is the best time to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. The cooler weather lets these plants establish themselves without getting baked in summer heat. They’ll also get plenty of moisture in the winter months for a good start in the spring. And perhaps best of all, this is when a lot of plants go on sale.
5. Amend Soil
Give your soil some love in the fall by spreading compost that can take all winter to soak in. Once you have garden areas all cleared of debris and dead plants, deeply rake or till in some compost. You can also add straw or mulch over the top to protect your soil.