As the temperature slowly drops and we move into fall, there are plenty of opportunities available to improve your yard and garden. Fall Gardening will help make the most out of your garden all year round. By putting in the time now, your spring garden will really shine, so make a note of those frost dates, and read on for some tips on how you can make sure your spring garden shine.
During late summer and early fall, many people like to overseed their lawn to rid themselves of bare or thin patches come spring, or start seeding a new lawn. Before doing this, make sure your soil has a pH of 6.0-6.5 and then enrich the soil accordingly before seeding or—if you need to have the soil tested by a county extension service—as soon as the results come back. Making sure your soil has the right nutrient balance this fall will make a big difference in the thickness and health of your grass come spring.
Before planting your fall vegetable garden it’s important to get rid of the organic matter left over from your summer garden vegetables, as pests and diseases like to hide and overwinter in the roots and stalks that are leftover after planting, and they will spread easily to next year’s crop. Insects and diseases may also affect cooler weather plantings such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and radishes. These are great veggies to start growing in fall and, by using a row cover, you can continue your harvest almost all the way through to winter, whether you plant in the ground or in a raised bed.
If you’re planting trees and shrubs fall is the best growing season to do so. The ground is still warm enough to allow the roots to grow and settle in, but the leaves are not taking up much in the way of nutrients. They will be secure and strong by the time the heat comes back around next year. If you do plant during the fall be sure to water enough. Cooler weather tends to be drier, and new plantings should be watered at least once a week, either naturally (with rain) or from your hose.
Flower gardening in the cool season can include adding brightly colored annuals for a pop of color. Mums, Asters, and Pansies do well in the cooler months. Another step to take before the cool season sets in is to plant your spring bulbs. Tender bulbs may be stored in a cool dry place—such as your refrigerator—but most bulbs—such as Irises, Hyacinths, Tulips, Crocuses, and Daffodils—will winter over well in the ground. Another great fall gardening tip is to use fallen leaves to mulch them this gives them an additional layer of protection from the cold. Fall planted bulbs will put on a showy display in the spring, making all of your work worth it, so have a little bit of patience and you’ll be basking in a beautiful spring garden in seven or eight months!