While it’s true that summer has its dazzle, your garden’s true colors would only come during fall. Check out these fall gardening tips for a worry-free winter and a beautiful garden in spring!
The fall is the best time to do much-needed maintenance in your garden, preparing it for the winter. The summer months bring flowers and growth, but as the colder nights draw in, vegetation dies back, and the leaves turn. Therefore, fall is the month of picking up debris and packing away those items that need protection from the cold. Here we explore the ten best tips for getting the most out of your garden this fall.
Tip #1: Greenhouse windows
Over the summer, when the sun is at its most intense, you may have used shade paint on the windows. While it is a great way to protect your plants from the intensity of summer rays, this paint loses you valuable sunlight in the fall in the ever-shorter days. Therefore, one of your first jobs is to put some elbow grease into washing those windows. You will just need some soapy, hot water, and you will allow much-needed heat into your greenhouse.
Fall is also a good time to replace damaged panes and clear the gutters of the greenhouse, ready for any storms that blow in during these months.
Tip #2: Clear the decks
Your greenhouse is about to be filled with all your tender plants that need overwintering. Therefore, the fall is a great time to clear your benches and tidy up any debris on your staging areas. Scrubbing down surfaces is an important step to avoid infestation of pests and any potential fungal infection.
Once cleared out and cleaned, you should ventilate the greenhouse so that it dries thoroughly after your big scrub.
Tip #3: Spruce up your borders
Now is the time you do the work for the spring of next year. Your hope is, with a bit of work now, the spring bloom will lift you out of the gloom of winter. To achieve this, you need to dig up annuals and plant your pansies and daisies. It would help if you also cut back perennials to about 5 cm above ground level.
Be careful to leave some of the seed heads, and so not get too carried away tidying the way – who doesn’t want those dew-covered plants in the autumn morning.
When you have reached just the right level of tidiness, lay down some compost and bark chips to offer some protection.
Tip #4: Lawn improvements
It is time to rake off the thatch and moss from your lawn. Moss may have taken hold over the summer, and you might need to lay down moss killer before raking. Once the debris is cleared, top with a sandy dressing and then apply your autumn feed.
Heavy traffic areas of your lawn, such as close to paths and play areas, will near aerating. Use the prongs of your garden fork to make holes every 10 cm or so.
Tip #5: Make use of the leaves
Falling leaves might make a fall garden look cluttered, but nature has a way of making use of all its debris. If you gather up the fallen leaves to make leaf mold, you can add it to your soil to add structure and organic matter.
Making leaf mold couldn’t be easier. Make yourself a leaf bin with stakes and wire mesh. Fill this with leaves and water and let nature do its things.
When the leaves are crumbly, spread in your borders as mulch. If you want to speed up the process of decomposition, you can shred the leaves too.
Tip #6: Make use of your compost
All the composting you have been doing over the spring and summer is about to pay as you clear out your compost heap and spread it in your borders. Not only will this make room for next year’s waste, but it will help your plants to thrive. If your compost isn’t quite ready, you may need to start a new heap now and wait a month or so to spread the other.
Tip #7: Add some interest
With the annuals dug up and the perennials cut back, your garden may be looking a little sparse. If your garden is your haven, then you may want to plant some glossy evergreens such as Fatsia japonica to add some interest and fill gaps in borders. Plants such as daphne are particularly lovely, as they provide glossy green leaves and fragrant flowers, even in the coldest months. You could always prepare for the festive season and plant some holly, which can also offer some formal structure to a garden that would otherwise look tired.
Tip #8: Protect your tender plants
Some plants will not survive the frosts over the winter, which will need lifting and storing in your greenhouse. Species such as dahlias, begonias, and cannas will die at the first frost. To lift them, cut back the stems and lift the rhizomes or tubers from the ground. Clear the soil from them and keep them stored in trays of sand or dry compost. You only need to leave the top of the crown uncovered. Do not store these in your greenhouse, instead opting for somewhere cool but first free.
If you live somewhere where the frosts are mild, you may not need to lift your tender plants. Instead, you can protect them by covering the crowns with a blanket of mulch – making sure it is a thick layer to offer the appropriate level of protection.
Tip #9: Protect your pond
Falling leaves into your pond will lead to a foul mush and a blocked filter and pump. Therefore, you need to put a net over your pond to catch the leaves before hitting the water. A fine mesh should do the trick while allowing oxygen in. It is important to remove leaves that fall onto the mesh and transfer them to your leaf mold bin.
Tip #10: Give your tools some TLC
Fall might be when you shove your mower to the back of the shed, but before you do, it is a good idea to give it a service. If you want it to clunk into action in the spring, you need to clear away the debris and make sure parts are in perfect condition.
You might also want to clean your other tools to make sure they do not succumb to rust. As you will need your shears and secateurs for your fall cut back, you might also want to sharpen these before use.
It is the time to potter.
As you can see, fall is a time for all those pottering around jobs that will pay dividends in the new cycle of growth. While you might not see immediate effects for your efforts this fall, you will be rewarded in the spring with a dazzling display.