Fall Garden Tips
•Empty all your outdoor containers to keep them from cracking during the winter. Store them upside down.
•Hang a bucket over a hook in your toolshed or garage and use it to store hose nozzles and sprinkler attachments.
•On a mild day, run your garden hose up over a railing or over the shed to remove all the water. Then roll it up and put it away.
•Mow your lawn as late into the fall as the grass grows. Grass left too long when deep snow arrives can develop brown patches in the spring.
•Don’t leave fallen leaves on the lawn. Rake onto a large sheet or tarp, then drag to your compost pile in thin layers mixed with old hay and other material. Or, rake the leaves into loose piles and run the mower over them to turn them into mulch for perennial and bulb beds. Get more tips on what to do with fall leaves.
•Cover your compost pile with plastic or a thick layer of straw before snow falls.
•Drain the fuel tank on your lawn mower or any other power equipment. Consult the owner’s manual for other winter maintenance.
•Scrub down and put away your tools. Some folks oil their tools with vegetable oil to avoid rust.
Time to clean it all up and get ready for next year.
•Many of next season’s problems can be avoided by careful fall cleanup. Any spent plants should be removed. If they had bugs or were diseased, get them off your property. You don’t want to add anything to your compost pile that could harbor diseases or insects.
•Just one weed left to mature can produce hundreds, if not thousands of seeds, that will grow into weeds to plague you next year, so weed the garden one last time.
I have been digging perennial weeds out of the flower beds. The holes left behind are perfect spots to plant spring-flowering bulbs. Bye-bye noxious weeds, hello spring color!
•Fall is a great time to create new planting beds. No digging necessary! Just set your mower as low as it will go and scalp the grass, then cover the area with a thick layer of newspapers. Cover the papers with a layer of compost and top it all off with lots of chopped leaves. In the spring you’ll have a lovely new planting bed full of worms.
While the mower is out, mow around the fruit trees one last time to discourage mice from nesting there.
•Install mouse guards made of fine mesh hardware cloth around the base of your fruit trees to keep mice and voles from eating the bark and killing the trees over the winter.
•If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make a note of what plants were grown where in your vegetable garden. Don’t rely on your memory! This will help in planning next year’s planting. It is never good to grow plants in the same family in the same place year after year. Not only does it allow pests and diseases specific to that family to become entrenched, it also depletes the soil of the same nutrients each year.
•While we are talking nutrients, fall is a great time to get your soil tested. Take a representative sample by mixing scoops of soil from several beds located around the garden instead of from just one spot. Armed with the recommendations from the test, you can apply the right amounts of the proper amendments this fall so they will have time to break down and be available to your plants next spring. No guess work or expensive mistakes!
Taking the time to do a few last fall chores will get the garden ready for next year.
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