When the weather starts to cool off it is now time for you to get out and dig. I know you thought you were done with that for the year, but if you didn’t you would not have an opportunity to plant bulbs for those gorgeous spring flowers we all know and love. I am talking about tulips, daylilies, crocus, hyacinth, irises, and so much more. Not to mention there are also vegetable bulbs to plant such as garlic and onions. If you have never had homegrown garlic then you for sure need to go out there and plant some. There will be vampires circling your house if you plant garlic! The trick to planting bulbs is to space them correctly and deep enough. Once they are planted you want to make sure you water them in really well so you can eliminate air pockets in the soil. This will allow the roots to come out and find exactly what they need to get started on their journey to bringing you some good ole fashioned garden joy. If you want to try to take some of the bulbs and through them in a big pot. Make it fun and mix them up in a bag plant them in the same way, once spring hits and they bloom it is fun to watch and see what comes up. Whoever said that there was no beauty in a little chaos ;)
Now that the season is over there is no real reason for local nurseries to hold on to the plants from this year. You know what that means! DEEP DISCOUNTS!!! Go out there and find some perennials that you can put in your yard or plant around your garden. Landscaping in our opinion is one of the most expensive things you can do for your house and property. So why not save a few bucks and go get a deal. If the sales happen early enough fall is actually a really good time to plant perennials. Think about it like this. If you plant now then the roots have some time to get comfortable in their new home. Usually, fall, winter, and spring are rainier than summer and the cooler weather does not allow for as much evaporation. This means less watering and the plant can get nice and cozy in that new spot you gave it. In the spring these plants will be faster to bloom and grow better because they have already had a few months to settle in. While you are out looking at all of those perennials you can put in your yard don’t forget to look at the pots as well. The big box stores are known to mark them down by as much as 80%!
We have established and I am sure you can tell that the sun is not as hot right now. That means that the water that we are putting on our gardens is not evaporating as fast as it was in the past few months. That is a good thing for your water bill! What this means is that at this point you need to cut back on your watering. How much should you water in the fall? It is still the same amount meaning roughly 1 inch per week but be sure to check on the soil before you water. More than likely it is still moist from the last time you watered. In the summer it is not uncommon to water your garden 2- 3 times a week. Conversely in the fall, it is not uncommon to water your garden 1 a week. As it gets cooler you might even do a little less than that. Remember the rains will keep your garden watered more efficiently at this time of year. If you have mulch on top of your garden beds then that means it is more than likely holding water more efficiently. Overwatering is just a deadly as underwatering and in some cases worse. By overwatering, you are more susceptible to introducing disease into your garden and that opens a whole new can of worms. Cut down on your watering and enjoy the break. We all know that we have been spending countless trips going out to the garden to either check for watering needs or watering. You deserve this break!
Now is the best time to replenish or start a compost pile. Brown dead leaves are the backbone of compost piles and can be a good mulch too! Most of us rake our yards and then carry the leaves to the curb and leave them for the city to come pick them up. Think about this and ask yourself what are they going to do with it? Simply put most cities shred the leaves and make mulch or compost with it. Why should you do the hard work for them so they can either turn around and sell it back to you or put it into some state-run parking lot flower bed? Use the leaves for yourself. Then when you are done raking your leaves out or your yard go out into your neighborhood and ask your neighbors if you can take theirs. Usually, people leave them in bags on the curb just like you USED to. If you do these you will have enough leaves to put in your compost pile and add to your beds (but more on that the next month of fall). Once you get the leaves back to your yard put them all in a big pile and run them over with a lawnmower to shred them. If you have a bag you can put on your mower this will help you catch what has been shredded so you can add it to your compost easier. Shredding the leaves allows them to breakdown faster giving them the chance to compost and feed your garden much faster than if you put whole leaves down. This step is so easy and useful and honestly has helped our compost piles grow rapidly. We usually put some of the leaves in the compost pile, but we also start a pile next to the compost that way we can add a little bit every time we add something green to the pile. Give it a shot and see how it changes your garden net spring.
These are four easy tips to get your garden in a better place for the next season. If you have any doubts just think. None of these tasks are that difficult and you will rest better knowing that you have already made a jump on the next season. You are one step closer to making your garden a h healthier happier place to eat out of and enjoy. When it is time to plan the next layout of your garden you will have more time and fewer distractions from doing these other tasks.