There is no better time than the Fall to work on your garden. The soil is easier to work with because it is warmer and not constantly being flooded with the Spring rains. The air temperature is a bit more comfortable for being outside and the weather is typically a bit more predictable. There are many things you can do in the Fall that will be valuable to your garden come Spring.
Nothing helps beat the winter blues like bright, perky flowers and interested textures to spruce up a brown and uneventful fall and winter garden. Some options to try for this are violas, pansies, asters, garden mums, sweet alyssum and ornamental cabbage and kale. A trend we’ve been noticing is combining ornamentals and edibles, so feel free to experiment this fall and mix in some pretty edible Lacinato Kale and Red Russian kale or Rhubarb next to your fall annuals.
Don’t stop your vegetable gardening just because the temperature is dropping. There are plenty of lettuces and greens that will mature quickly, before the intense winter weather sets in (and some even taste better with a little touch of front, like kale). Try planting lettuces, turnips, mustard greens, collards, and kale and make sure to mix a rich compost to help give the edibles a great head start. In colder regions, frost blankets can protect those edibles and give them the chance they need to flourish.
On the other hand, if you are not into planting edibles you have other options. Consider planting a cover crop (winter rye, field peas, or clover) in your vegetable beds to help enrich the soil over the winter months.
Start by flushing pests from your potted plants by watering them several minutes apart outside. Pick out and clean up the dead leaves and other damaged bits. Spray your plants with insecticidal soap a few days before moving them inside to also help get rid of the remaining pests. Mulch you plants too, to keep them neat indoors. You also might want to re-pot plants that have outgrown their current pot by upsizing to a larger pot and give them some fresh soil while you are at it!
Shrubs, perennials, and trees do very well when planted in the Fall, just remember you still need to water them consistently to give them a healthy start. Shrubs will also provide great living areas and food for birds over the cold Winter. Do you have any existing shrubs that just aren’t thriving in their current dig? Fall is a great time to get those relocated to try another dig for them to grow in.
Collect fallen fruits and vegetables that are harboring pests and other diseases. Make sure to clear out all of your rotten tomato’s remnants and other edible debris. Do not compost your diseased plants if you have some in your garden: they can ruin your next harvest.
Other key clean up tasks for your garden:
Be a resourceful and clever gardener and save seeds to grow more plants next year. Gather seeds from spent plants and place seeds in a paper bag or paper envelops. Make sure that your seeds are completely dry before storing and don’t forget to label them so you know what you have come Springtime.
Taking care of your tools will provide them with a longer life for you. Before you tuck them away for the Winter, wash off any crusted dirt and chemicals to prevent rusting. Sharpen and oil your tools, by adding linseed oil to wooden handles you can prevent cracking.
Other tool maintenance ideas:
We hope these quick Fall landscaping tips will help keep you busy and also provide your garden and landscape a refreshed look and set you up for a successful Spring!