While it may be warm in certain parts of the country, making it feel like it is still summer, the calendar says autumn has arrived. Now is the time to begin those fall garden chores because winter is just around the corner and spring planting won't be far behind. Here are some things to keep in mind while preparing the garden for the pending hibernation and the next growing season.
For those that garden via “crops in pots” be sure to remove all annuals and vegetables that have finished flowering and producing. Place the vegetation into a compost pile or dispose of properly so as not to attract unnecessary bugs and insects into the garden that could potentially destroy the perennials. Dump the dirt into a larger container and store the containers upside down so as not to collect water or snow.
For larger gardens, such as row gardens or planters boxes, consider planting a cover crop that will grow during the fall and winter months. This type of vegetation will put essential nutrients back into the ground and prevent the topsoil from washing away during the rainy season or blowing away when the wind kicks up. It also prevents weed germination.
Large garden spaces will also benefit from an alternative to planting a cover crop: turning over the soil. Taking the time to till the garden allows for easier spring planting, by breaking up the soil into finer particles. Additionally, those that compost should use this opportunity to till organic matter into the soil to provide vital nutrients. Since the season is fall, use those leaves that are scattered around. As they decompose, they will make the ground easier to turn over and break apart.
Remove dead or diseased portions of the perennials after the first frost. This will help to eradicate any pest eggs or other disease spores that might still be around and make the garden look neat and tidy. For visual interest during the winter, maintain any seed heads throughout the garden.
These are just a few of the garden chores one needs to do in the fall to help properly prepare it for upcoming seasons. Spending time in the garden during this time of year will make planting in the spring a little easier. Be sure to check back for more fall gardening tips.
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