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The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are slowly beginning to drop. Gardens are also producing less bounty and fewer flowers. Even so, this doesn’t mean your job as gardener is over. In fact, it’s only just begun. During the fall months, you still have to get the lawn and garden cleaned up and ready for the upcoming winter season.
Here is a checklist of some of the tasks you’ll need to accomplish before the end of autumn:
Before the first frost, all vegetables should be harvested. You run the risk of them going bad if they are exposed to frost. Early fall is also a good time to collect any herbs and seeds you want to dry and store. Make sure you keep your fresh harvest separated from dead and rotting plants.
You will also need to remove dead foliage from the garden. Fallen leaves, dead plants and weeds can quickly become a breeding ground for harmful diseases and fungi which can present serious problems as the days warm in the spring. A rake and some leaf bags can make short work of this task.
Once the garden has been cleared, apply peat-moss, straw or pine bark mulch to help prevent frost damage. If you don’t plan on composting, grass clippings and mulched leaves also serve as suitable cover for your garden plants.
Take the opportunity to get your soil ready for the spring growing season. Early autumn offers ideal weather conditions for working in your backyard. Soil maintenance includes aerating, seeding, and applying a starter fertilizer to new seed. Fertilizing at this time of year helps strengthen grass roots, giving it a better chance of surviving the winter. Strong, healthy roots also help jumpstart grass growth in the spring.
Fall is the best time to begin a compost pile. You have a whole smorgasbord of composting ingredients to choose from in the fall. There are old flowers or vegetables dug up from the garden, grass clippings and freshly fallen leaves. You’ll be making a nutritious soil amendment for spring planting as you clean your yard for the winter.
Snow, rain and cold temperatures can wreck havoc on your garden and patio furniture. The best way to ensure they remain in top quality for multiple summer seasons is to properly protect them with outdoor furniture covers. Patio furniture covers help extend the life of metal and wood patio chairs, tables, and benches.
Clean and store planters and containers. You won’t be growing anything in them over the winter so put them in a location where they won’t be damaged by stray snow shovels, frost, ice, etc.
Many homeowners overlook the importance of fire log storage. Wet logs won’t burn so you need to keep your firewood as dry as possible. Firewood racks keep wood and kindling off the cold, wet ground while firewood covers protect your logs from the rain and snow.
Don’t forget to turn off and empty outside water connections like fountains, faucets or sprinklers. Also drain your garden hoses before they are put into storage for the winter. When the temperatures drop, that water will freeze, expand and damage pipes and hoses.
Cover and winterize any water gardens. Preparing your water garden for the winter is especially important for the survival of both your aquatic plants and the wildlife in and around the pond. Remove any decaying foliage to keep it from falling into the pond. Set up netting over the pond to help catch falling leaves before they fall into the water. Fish should be removed and kept in appropriate tanks until the spring.
Don’t fret if you aren’t able to accomplish everything on this list in one weekend. That would be unrealistic. Plus, spreading some of these jobs out over the course of the fall gives you an excuse to work outside and do what you do best on a beautiful fall afternoon–garden!
|Garden.com has everything you need to make fall clean up a breeze!