Sue on 29 Oct 2008
Fall may mark an end to our growing season, but its a great time to start next year’s gardens. Here are a few suggestions to ensure that your garden will wake up on the right side of the new millennium.
Plant spring bulbs from mid-September through October. For best results, amend the soil with organic matter to a depth of at least one foot. Plant bulbs in mass rather than strait lines for a natural look.
Make a compost pile! Fallen leaves and lawn clippings will be accessible for some time, and kitchen scraps (eggshells, coffee grounds and produce trimmings) are also useful. Avoid woody materials. Turn the pile once or twice during the cold season, and you will most likely be rewarded with home “grown” compost for your spring planting.
If your perennials are dying out in the center, it’s time to divide them. Cut them back, lift, divide and replant–or make someone’s day by sharing a piece of the favorite plant.
Fall is an excellent time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. By doing so, the plant becomes established and ready to burst forth next spring. You MUST commit to many long, deep watering sessions in the fall and winter. Use holidays to jog your memory: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Groundhog Day. Mulch will help prevent evaporation and add to your efforts.
For the adventurous kitchen gardener, plant cold tolerant greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens and collards now. They will sprout over winter and resume growth at the first signs of warmth in early spring. This won’t work every year, but our recent mild winters have granted us crops for the past three years. Plant in a protected area to increase chances of success.