A Fall Checklist for Gardeners A Fall Checklist for Gardeners
The days are getting shorter and some mornings there's frost on the car so you know fall is here. For a gardener fall is a bittersweet season – growing season is coming to an end but the memories of this gardening season are still fresh in your mind. As well, just because fall is here doesn't mean you should just forget about gardening for the year - there's still things you should do to get ready for next year. Here's a short checklist of things to do this fall to get your garden ready for winter and next year.
In the garden
- Thoroughly weed your flower beds and discard (don't mulch) the weeds you take out (you don't want to be applying weed seeds to your garden along with your compost). You can also remove any frost killed annuals and any dying perennial foliage - while not a necessity, if you do it now, you won't have to do it in the spring.
- Rake fallen leaves off your lawn so they won;t smother your grass. Use the leaves as mulch around the base of your shrubs and trees to provide a source of natural nutrients as well as help protect them from the winter chill.
- Don't stop cutting your lawn until the snow falls because fungus can grow in long grass even in cold weather.
- Also keep watering your trees and particularly your evergreens until the ground freezes hard. Evergreens need lots of water because they don't lose their leaves in winter and continue to give off mositure during the dry winter months.
- October is the time to dig compost or soil amendments into your vegetable and flower gardens and apply fall fertilizer and broad leaf herbicide to your lawn.
Around the yard
- Clean and sharpen your garden tools and pruners. Wash off any caked on dirt, use a file to sharpen your shovels and hoes and put a drop of oil on the moving parts of your pruners. Rubbing wooden handles with oil will stop the wood from drying out over the winter so you won't get splinters next year.
- Gather all your garden chemicals and store them in a clean, dry place - well away from pets and kids.
- Turn off the water supply to your outside faucets and leave the outside taps open to ensure any water trapped in the pipe won't and split the pipe.. It's also a good idea to drain your garden hoses and store them out of the elements so they don't dry out and crack when you go to use them next year.
- Move clay pots to where they won't be exposed to fluctuating winter temperatures and if you're going to bring any plants from your garden into your home, be sure they're free of insects.
Finally, don't let your fall garden clean up be all work. Take some time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather while doing your fall gardening chores.
Murray Anderson is a veteran freelancer whose work has been appeared in books, newspapers and newsletters as well as on numerous web sites in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics including home, consumer, and personal subjects as well as general business and Marketing specific topics.