Is your garden ready for fall?
The last ripe tomato plucked from the vine and leaves turning to gold and red herald the end of another summer and the beginning of a more lush and beautiful lawn and garden next year. That is,if you take a few steps in advance of the cold weather.
Start by taking a look at your garden to decide which plants and placement worked well. If some perennial plants failed to thrive in the existing soil or light conditions, autumn is the ideal time to move them to a better location and add compost to the soil. This is also the time to dig up, divide and replant most types of flowering bulbs, which multiply during the summer. Strawberries can also benefit from being divided and given more space.
Trimming back roses, peonies, grape vines, raspberries and most herbs ensures that the plants don’t grow wild and spindly in the spring. Tender, new growth will emerge around the areas you have trimmed.
Lawns and gardens benefit from the addition of nutrients in the autumn. One of the best soil amendments is compost tea. This can be purchased or made at home, although it requires aeration equipment. It is essentially compost that is steeped in water as air is pumped in to maintain healthy bacteria. The final tea contains a solution of nutrients that are readily available to grass and other plants. Aside from compost tea, consider adding bone meal for calcium and phosphorus, fish fertilizer for nitrogen and wood ash or alfalfa for potassium.
Add fallen leaves, trimmings and your last grass clippings of the year to your compost pile to create fertilizer for spring. Lastly, protect fragile plants, such as young bushes, by wrapping them in burlap held in place with twine.
After a long winter rest, your garden should emerge looking beautiful.