Make next year's garden great by getting ready in fall

September 3, 2008 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Make next year’s garden great by getting ready now

      Now is the time to make plans for next year’s garden.  There are many things you can do in fall in ensure that your next garden is the best ever.

*    Find a source of cow or horse manure and spread it on the garden this fall.  Manure should be aged at least six months before planting.

ü      If you have or plan on planting acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberries or pines, add peat moss to your soil this fall.  Peat moss acidifies soil but it needs some time to work so it is best to add it well ahead of planting.

ü      Leaves that fall from your trees can be chopped with a lawn mower or leaf shredder or placed in a large garbage can and shredded with a string trimmer.  Leave them on the lawn as a free source of nitrogen or till them into the garden to add nitrogen and organic matter.

ü      If you plan on adding any garden structures like a compost bin, pathway, pergola, raised beds, or bench, install them now.  It is easier to place them properly when all the plants are growing in fall than to guess where they should go in spring.  You’ll always underestimate how big nearby plants will get. 

ü      If you had problems with blossom end rot on your tomatoes this year, your soil is calcium deficient.  Save your eggshells over the winter and place them in the planting holes next spring.  Just rinse the shells, let them dry and crush them.  Keep them in a zip-loc bag or Tupperware container until spring.

ü      Buy hay or straw bales now.  Use them for fall yard displays and save them for mulching around plants next year.

ü      Rake and fill garbage bags with long pine needles.  Use them next spring for mulch around plants or on garden paths.

ü      If your spring garden was kind of blah, plant bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring bloomers around October 15.

ü      Water all evergreen plants well every week until the ground freezes.  Evergreens transpire (water evaporates from the needles) all winter long.  With the lack of rain this past month, soil moisture is very low so the plants need to be hydrated as much as possible.

ü      Make notes of changes you want to make for next year, plants you want to divide or move, new plants you want to add and landscaping ideas.  Winter is long and you really will forget some of your great plans by next spring!

Garden chores by month

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