You’ve tilled and toiled your garden, mowed your lawns, cut flowers, and trimmed trees and shrubs, so the last thing you probably want to think about is tending to your garden in the fall. Alas, you know that you must because if you don’t, the weather will turn cold and the only thing you’ll want to do is binge watch your favorite TV shows. At Improvements, we’re sharing our easy fall gardening tips with you. And just think: once you’ve finished with your gardening duties, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a hot cup of apple cider. Sound good? You bet it does! So without further ado, let’s fall into fall gardening tips.
Everything You Need to Know about Fall Gardening Tips
Spring gardening usually gets all of the glory and admiration, but fall gardening deserves just as much TLC. Why? Because wilting, overgrown gardens are not a pretty sight. Nor are burned out lawns, overgrown shrubs, hanging tree branches, and more. After all, the outside of your home should look as good as the inside. Furthermore, if you pay an HOA, you may also pay a hefty fine for having an unkempt yard and garden.
Even though spring and summer gardening may have burned you out, you can’t ignore fall clean up. If you have kids at home, you could recruit them to help you. Furthermore, getting your garden and yard ready for next can minimize problems for next year.
Complete Fall Tasks
Plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, lilies, hyacinths, and tulips for next year. Some garden centers and home improvement stores may put these on sale to avoid keeping them through winter. Of course, you could ask your neighbor if you may cut some of there peonies, roots and all, and plant them in your yard. Get your bulbs in the ground before your area’s first frost.
Bring potted plants indoors. Why? Because ants and other small critters love warm, moist soil. Prevent them from coming into your garden shed by flushing the soil with water a few times. Remove dead or faded leaves, spray the underside with water to remove unwanted pests, and apply new mulch to plants soil surface to prevent gnats from gathering in your outdoor shed.
Speaking of outdoors sheds…If yours has tools and supplies all over the place, you may want to get organized. Use different garage organization items such as stacking recycling bins, heavy-duty storage racks, extension cord winder, and more. Insecticides and fungicides lose their strength after being opened. Safely discard the ones you won’t use next year. Don’t know how to get rid of these items? Contact your local government because they may hold a Safety Fair so that you may bring your leftover insecticides to be disposed of properly.
Remove finished vegetables and clean up debris and weeds from your garden. You can also rake leaves onto your lawn and mow them with your lawnmower so that you may cover your garden with the chopped up leaves. The mixture will enhance fertility in the spring and deter unwanted weeds. You may even want to plant shrubs and plants or pull out the ones that you no longer like.
Depending on where you live, you may want to bring your outdoor fountain indoors to prevent cracking and freezing. If it’s too great of an undertaking, drain your garden fountain completely, dry it with a non-abrasive cloth and place a water fountain cover over it as a protective shield from the weather. For even more water fountain maintenance ideas, read our blog post, Tips for Year-Round Outdoor Fountain Maintenance.
Finally, feed your garden with store-bought or organic garden fertilizer because it will save you time and money next year. Even though temperatures drop, the ground remains warm so that plants can experience root growth. Remember, healthy roots lead to hearty plants and flowers in the spring.
Attend to Lawns
Head off next spring’s weeds by taking care of and thickening up your lawns before they go dormant in the fall. You can do this by applying a high-potassium winter-grade fertilizer. If you live in a warm area of the country, apply a preventive herbicide that will kill weed seeds that thrive in cooler weather. Next, if you seed your lawn with ryegrass and other cool-season grasses, do it early enough in the fall for the seeds to sprout, grow roots and get established before it gets cold.
As was mentioned before, it’s better to mow leaves rather than rake them because it’s a good way to feed the worms. They’ll nourish your lawn by taking leaf matter deep into your lawn and tree roots. If your leaves become too much to mow, rake blow, or bag them for your compost or leaf pile. For additional fall lawn tips, read our blog post, Fall Lawn Care Tips.
Care For Composts and Rain Barrels
If you compost, be wary of accepting your neighbor’s grass clippings because they may use weed killers and fungicides, which may wreak havoc on your home compost pile or compost bin. To keep tree roots from growing up into your compost piles, lay plastic sheeting or an old shower curtain underneath them. You may throw old compost on top of new material because it has beneficial bacteria that will jump-start the composting process.
To prevent rain barrels from stinking and becoming stagnant, use old water and thoroughly clean the barrels before fall rain replenishes them. And while you’re at it, check your gutters to make sure they’re not clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris. Otherwise, they won’t flow smoothly when it starts to rain. Check out our blog post, The Best Gutter Cleaning Tips, so you can keep your gutters in great shape during the fall and winter.
Take Care of Veggies and Herbs
Fall gardening tips wouldn’t be complete without talking about veggies and herbs! Clean up your vegetable garden by pulling leftover plants and composting them. Also, pull, hoe, or dig weeds into your soil. If you grew rhubarb, cut it down along with asparagus ferns, which can be composted. To prevent weeds during the winter, add a new layer of leaf mulch.
Work your soil by adding compost, chopped tree leaves, or mulch, so you can plant as soon as possible in the late winter (depending on where you live) and spring. You may consider sowing seeds of ryegrass, vetch, or clover over your freshly tilled soil. Not only will it grow all winter, but it will grow leaves and roots. When you work your soil in the spring, the “green” manure will boost your summer garden.
Due to the temperatures in your area, you may discover that it’s too late to plant broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, and other plants that need a hefty maturation period. However, you may get one more planting of lettuce, turnip, collards, and mustard greens. And, don’t forget to push your garlic a few inches into your soil in double rows. For fun and added color, toss in a couple of daffodil bulbs.
Don’t forget to collect a few seeds from your tomatoes, peppers, beans, and other ‘open-pollinated’ plants. You can plant them next year and share the fruits, or in this case, veggies of your labor, with your family and friends. You may even consider selling your crop at a local farmer’s market. Check with your city for guidelines.
Clean Tools and Equipment
Of all the gardening tips, this one could make you groan. However, you’ll want to clean your garden tools to keep them looking great and in working order before you put them away for the winter. Wash, rinse, and scrub off dirt, coat metal parts to prevent rusting, and rub down wooden handles with linseed oil to prevent them from cracking and drying out. Examine your garden tools to see if any need replacing.
To keep power equipment engines from gumming up or having other problems, drain the gas. Also, loosen the spark plug, add oil to the firing end, and replace. Check air filters to make sure they’re clean, change if necessary.
Lastly, consider testing your soil to find out if it’s acidic or alkaline, or if it needs nutrients. Then again, you may be overdoing it and will need to cut back. If you want to get your soil tested, your city can help you with this. For a DIY soil testing solution, head over to our blog, What You Need to Know about Garden Fertilizer, to get a step-by-step solution.
Fall in Love with Fall Gardening Tips
One of the best fall gardening tips (and wish) we have is for you to turn over a new leaf and get your garden ready before autumn turns into winter. Why? Because if you clean up your garden, lawns, etc. in the fall you’ll reap the benefits in the spring.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or energy, you could hire a landscaper. Their schedules are less chaotic, plus designers will have more time to spend with you and may even start work on smaller projects. Keep in mind that you need to call early so you don’t miss the fall planting season. A landscaper needs time to visit your home, create plans, give you an estimate, and more.
For more fall gardening tips, check out our blog post, What to Plant in the Fall. Share your ideas and tips in the comments below!