It’s that time of year again, time to think about spring! Yes, I said that right. Spring! Fall is almost here but if you want to maximize the potential of your garden next year fall is the best time to get some work done. The autumn leaves will be changing soon and now is the best time to get some garden preparation accomplished in the cooler weather. What preparations can you do in fall for a good spring garden?
Mulch in the Fall
Mulching your garden beds is one of the best things you can do for your perennials and trees. Mulch insulates the soil from the cold weather can help borderline plants overwinter better. It also protects the soil from compaction and adds organic matter to the ground over time. Cover each bed with a two inch layer of the mulch of your choice for good protection.
Overseed Grass in the Fall
Fall overseeding is an essential part of lawn care. I’m not a overzealous lawn fanatic by any means but I do enjoy having a nice open space for my kids to play. I want my lawn to look good but not be overly reliant on treatments. Each fall I overseed with a new bag of grass seed. I vary what type of grass I use each year to create some diversity in the lawn. I make efforts to grow my lawn as organically as possible which means certain cultural treatments are necessary including overseeding in the fall, mowing the correct height, and accepting and allowing diversity (yes that means a few weeds!). Often weeds like clover and dandelion can be beneficial to your lawn and garden.
Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Bulbs in the Fall
Fall is an awesome time to plant. Trees and shrubs planted in the fall get a head start on building root systems for next spring. The soil stays warmer longer than the air and the roots will continue to grow for a little while until it gets too chilly. Bulbs love to be planted in the fall! Some bulbs need a certain length of time in the cold called “chill hours.” Once bulbs receive the correct amount of time they will send up shoots through the soil to gather energy and eventually produce flowers. Daffodils are an excellent bulb for any garden and have always demonstrated a high degree of deer and rabbit resistance in my garden. Tulips look great but do not last nearly as well as daffodils. Often tulips need replanted each year as they are a delicacy for voles and chipmunks. Tulips need to gather enough energy through the spring to store and resprout in the following year so leave the leaves up until they begin to turn brown if you want a repeat performance!
Fall is the best time of year to do many of the garden tasks that need done. It’s also my favorite time of year since the weather is cooler and it is so much more enjoyable to be outdoors. So many people dread those chores but I love the fall leaf cleanup (free mulch collection) and dreaming about the potential for spring gardening! What is you favorite season in the garden?