September 1, 2021
Fall is traditionally associated with harvesting and stocking up for the winter ahead. However, many locations in the U.S., even those accustomed to getting heavy snow in the winter, may embrace the fall as a great time to extend their garden harvest and continue to play with their landscape. Gardeners may continue to plant a regular '' and through November. Fall is also a great time to plant and other plants for the following spring. Landscapers who think ahead may already have some great flower varieties showing off their colors in the fall. Finally, fall is a great time to take advantage of mild temperatures to prepare plants and soil for the winter ahead. There are many projects for the fall garden to keep all green-thumbs happy!
"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile." ~ William Cullen Bryant
• There are many quick growing vegetables that enjoy the milder fall temperatures. There are also some longer growing vegetables that don't mind a little frost and may be planted early fall for a harvest in November/December. Some of those that can help keep your green thumb busy are: - - - - - - - - - - - - .
• As you enjoy your fall vegetable garden, keep some of these tasks in mind to prep the soil for your spring planting:
- Remove dead plants. If you leave them there they may become a hiding place for . Instead, collect healthy remains and place them in a compost bin or discard completely. Also remove old stakes and twine, which will just get messy over the winter and become more of a headache to clear out come spring.
- You may till some dead leaves and compost into the soil to add nutrients over the winter. However, be careful not to use too much as you do not want to mat the surface. Tilling your soil in the fall can also expose any pest larvae to freeze in the winter. Finally, take a ; fall is a great time to add lime or sulfur to adjust the soil pH for spring.
- If you have a mild enough winter, you may want to consider such as and (ask your local garden store for localized suggestions).
- Do not fertilize as this will wash away before your spring planting - save your money!
- Use time in the fall and winter to sketch out next years garden. Doing this early will help you decide if you should make any adjustments or amend soil in certain areas now.
• Perhaps you are considering your spring flowerbeds? These plants can be planted in the fall to make sure they are established for a spring awakening: - - - - - .
• Fall is a great time to introduce new plants to your landscape. Many of your large plants such as trees and shrubs do best when planted in the spring or fall. Planting in the fall allows them milder temperatures to get established before the winter.
• Autumn is also a good time to relocate plants that may not be happy in their current location. In addition, perennials such as , , , , and may be divided and spread in your landscape for a new bloom next year. It's also time to clean up your landscape and prep your plants for the winter ahead. Remember these 'to do' items:
- Water all your plants - it may be wet, but they will appreciate a good drink before the ground freezes.
- Cut back plants - cut back and add to the compost bin. If you have concerns about the health of the plant, discard the cuts instead. Also cut back any and ; at this point you are mainly cutting out dead or diseased stems on the plant.
- Clear debris - debris, such as leaves and pine needles, need to be cleared away from the base of your plants. Crushed dried leaves can be used to make or . Some gardeners may also use pine needles for mulch, however, pine needles can produce a more acidic soil.
- Dig up - they have had their moment of glory in the garden and can now be brought inside or added to your compost bin.
- Lawn care - continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing. Make sure to rake leaves to prevent molding and dead spots. Unlike the garden, you will want to once in the early fall and again after it stops growing.
Photo by from