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Fall is here, and with it comes the inevitable slowing of activity in the garden. Depending on your location, perennials may be blushing with color or starting to drop their leaves. Annual vegetables are nearing the end of their lifespan and are starting to succumb to the nip of successively heavier frosts.
What more is needed now that fall is here? A few careful steps executed now will save you effort in the long run. While many spent plants can be left in place to rot and add nutrients to the soil, some may harbor disease, pests and funguses. The rest of your spent crops will provide protection for the soil, reducing erosion if left in place through the winter.
They can also provide homes for overwintering pollinators. Remember the bindweed that colonized your raspberry patch? Now is the time to deal with those renegades. Dig them up and place them in the trash or smother them underneath tarps or garden cloth. Most invasive weeds remain viable in a compost heap or weed pile, so resist the urge to simply shift them to another part of your garden. Despite the fact that most people reserve this activity for spring, fall is a great time to add soil amendments like manure and compost, or organic fertilizers such as bone meal, kelp and rock phosphate.
In most climates, adding nutrients at this time of year means they have time to start breaking down, enriching your soil, and becoming biologically active. Remove the mulch in early spring in advance of new planting. In many climates, late summer or early fall is a good time to sow cover crops like rye, vetch or clover. These crops help prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas and increase levels of organic matter in garden beds.
Cover crops also add nutrients and help your soil draw carbon into the soil from the atmosphere. Planting legumes in your garden such as clover or field peas can increase the levels of available nitrogen for garden vegetables. While a general guideline is to plant cover crops approximately one month before your first killing frost, some cover crops are hardier than others.
Consult your local extension agent or seed provider to identify the best fall cover crop for your region. Fall is a good time to trim some perennial garden plants, though take care to ensure you choose the right ones. Blueberries also prefer a spring pruning, which helps safeguard the plant from exposure to disease and stress. Focus fall pruning efforts on flowers like roses; herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage; and vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb.
Blackberries also benefit from a fall clean up. Resist the urge to cut back your perennial flowering plants, particularly those covered in seed heads. These will make excellent meals for overwintering birds in your neighborhood and add interest to the winter garden.
Although spring bulbs have long since flowered and died back, other flowering bulbs like lilies bloomed more recently.
For spring bulbs, this might mean some guesswork to determine location. Other plants will be more obvious. Lift bulbs gently and separate bulblets for immediate transplanting elsewhere in the garden.
If you previously dug up your spring bulbs for dividing, now is the time to plant them again. Daffodils, tulips and crocuses are all ready to go back into the soil for another year. This would be a missed opportunity in two ways. First, material composted over the summer is probably finished and ready to go.
Using this rich material to top up garden beds, amend deficient soils or fertilize lawns and landscaping will nourish your soil and jumpstart growth come springtime.To keep those microbes working a little bit longer, build your fall compost heap with plenty of autumn leaves, straw, or sawdust layered with kitchen scraps and other active, green matter. For more information, read our article about successful winter composting. You can also find the basics of composting in our comprehensive composting guide.
Mulching in winter has many of the same benefits as summer mulching. These include reducing water loss, protecting the soil from erosion and inhibiting weeds. But winter mulching has other benefits as well: as the soil transitions to colder weather, the freezing and thawing of the earth can adversely affect garden plants, whose roots suffer from all that churning and heaving.
Adding a thick layer of mulch to the soil surface helps regulate soil temperatures and moisture and ease the transition into winter. A thick layer of mulch around root vegetables left in the garden for your fall and winter harvest can also buffer against hard frosts and prolong your crop. And as the mulch breaks down it incorporates fresh organic material into your soil.
For more information read our article: Fall is the Season for Mulching with Leaves! Did the varieties of fruits and vegetables planted this season perform adequately in your garden? Now is the time to reconsider under-performing plants and find out if a better variety exists for your location. If your plants are performing adequately, consider extending your harvest by adding varieties that ripen earlier or later in the season. Soil fertility, moisture levels and plant placement can all be adjusted.
Begin by washing tools to remove dirt and debris. If rust is present, remove with sandpaper or a wire brush. Sharpen hoes and shovels with a basic mill file. A whetstone works well for pruners.
Finally, rub the surfaces of your tools with an oiled rag coated in light machine oil. Taken now, these steps will not only help your spring and summer run more smoothly, they can also improve your yields over the long term. Shannon Cowan Shannon Cowan is the blog editor at Eartheasy. She lives on six acres of land with her husband, daughters, and backyard poultry flock. Read Article.
Steps taken now can make springtime even easier. This article has been updated from its original text. Clean up diseased plants. Leave the rest in place. Remove invasive weeds that may have taken hold over the growing season. Amend your soil for spring. Plant cover crops.
Prune perennials with care. Divide and plant bulbs. Harvest and regenerate your compost. Replenish mulch. Review the plants in your garden and assess your growing season. Clean and sharpen tools. From Our Shop. Farmstead Raised Garden Bed. Natural Cedar Raised Garden Beds. Jora JK Composter - 9. Year-Round Cold Frame. Riverstone Monticello Greenhouse.
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We tend to forget the importance of plants and often take them for granted. You may think there is nothing much to the plants and trees that are around us every day but they are vital for life and our long-term survival. Plants are an essential resource - we rely on them for food, water, medicine, the air we breathe, habitat, our climate and more. Plants are incredibly important for providing habitats for a huge number of different species. A good example of this is the English oak.
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Man strangles kangaroo to death after wife is attacked near Tennessee home
Your plants will greatly appreciate having their basic requirements fulfilled to do their job well! Deepa Gupta New Delhi March 16, am. Having plants at home is a fun and rewarding experience. You get to enjoy the companionship of nature being at home, and depending upon what kind of plants you have grown, each has a different kind of persona — some are decorative, some are perennial, some are seasonal, some give flowers, some give fruits and so on. No matter, what their personality is, every plant in your house is special to you and you always find each of them amazing. You should return the love you are given by providing your plants with proper care. Taking care of plants gives an amusing feeling, yet it is a little hard because of the responsibilities involved. However, you would not mind doing few extra chores for your green best friends. It contains essential nutrients from organic matter to micro-organisms. Soil acts as backbone for plant roots and helps support the plant to stand.
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This post on the best plants for pots lists over 25 fantastic low maintenance plants for outdoor pots. You can keep things small-scale, moving onto larger displays as you learn and become more confident.
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8 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening
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Health , Mental Health. Planting flowers and vegetables can reap bountiful bouquets and delicious harvests for your dining table. But did you know gardening also can do wonders for your well-being? Here are eight surprising health benefits of gardening. All that digging, planting and weeding burns calories and strengthens your heart. Gardening can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
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