It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start to change colour and we pack up our summer clothes. For many gardeners, fall means preparing for winter by harvesting any remaining vegetables and putting away the gardening tools. If you’re looking for some tips on how to get your garden ready for the colder months ahead, then read on!
#1. Clean Up Faded Plants
It’s time to clean up of all of those plants that are in their final days. This means you’ll need to remove all of the plants (annuals/summer veggies/frost tender summer bulbs) that are looking brown or faded. However, it’s important to stay away from removing any healthy green plants or winter veggies so that soil roots are not disturbed.
The best time to take out these faded plants is after they have died off completely during early fall. An ideal time to remove them is after a couple of heavy frosts. Waiting until winter sets in could result in a lot more work digging up roots and other plant material left behind in frozen soil.
Similarly, summer planted bulbs are tender and cannot be overwintered. Dig them up once the foliage has turned yellow and gently loosen the roots from the soil.
Place all of those unwanted materials into bags or onto tarps before adding them to your compost pile to make the process easier and faster.
#2. Tidy Up Perennial Plants That Have Finished Blooming
Give a good haircut and remove any dead leaves from perennial plants that have finished blooming. This will help them get ready for the next growing season. The first step is to remove spent flowers and seed heads from perennials like coneflowers, sunflowers, asters, coreopsis and ornamental grasses. Be a friend to the birds and leave a few seed heads around to help feed the winter foraging birds (they will love you). Then you will want to cut back any leggy shrubs or those that are overly tall so they don’t shade other garden beds when their lower limbs start getting in the way of your lawnmower. If you’re finding it tough to reach all areas with a weed eater or hedge trimmer, you may need to spend a bit of extra time adding stakes to your garden. Just remember not to prune too close which could expose bare stems by wintertime.
#3. Plant Spring Bulbs and Garlic
Now that you have taken out all your dead plants and cleaned up the perennials, you can get ready for fall planting. Fall is an excellent time to plant spring flowering bulbs and garlic so that they are rooted in the ground before winter sets it. There are so many bulb and garlic varieties that you can plant.
Not sure where to start? Visit your local garden center and ask for Florissa’s Colourful Companions. These bulb mixes are designed to bloom in perfect harmony together making it easy to plant a show stopping display for the spring.
#4. Clean Up Garden Tools and Equipment
Now that all the prep is done, it is time to clean up your garden tools and equipment. Wash all the dirt, dust, and cobwebs off of each item. Once you have them looking shiny again – give a good coating of WD-40 on metal parts that will rust easily like shovels or spades so they don’t stick when you go to use them next year!
Wrap up the cord on any electric items such as leaf blowers or trimmers before storing for winter; this way it won’t get tangled with other cords in the garage during storage. Store these types of machines inside where possible to avoid rain damage. If there isn’t room indoors for your garden equipment, try covering them with a tarp to avoid any damage over winter.
Getting your garden ready for fall can be easy with these simple steps. Make sure it happens before you put up holiday decorations and bring out the cold weather gear! Fall clean up ensures that bulbs planted in the fall get as much sunlight as possible and can grow in a well weeded environment. A bit of prep work before the leaves fall to the ground will have you thanking yourself come springtime. A wonderfully clean and organized garden will be your reward…not to mention the fresh green tips of tulips and daffodils poking out of the garden beds ready to show off their beautiful colours.