Gardening Will Pay Off in Spring
For many of us, gardening in the fall means cleaning up,
cutting down, raking leaves and generally tidying up
before the frost and snow hit.
While it's great to make things neat and tidy, taking some
extra measures as you clean up now can make a big
difference next spring. Keep the following things in mind
when getting your garden ready for winter.
Fail is a great time to plant trees and shrubs because
soil temperatures are still warm compared to the air.
Conditions are ideal for root development. If you plan to
plant or relocate some trees or shrubs this fall:
dig a generous hole, roughly twice the size of the root
slide the plant out of the container and gently tear the
roots to encourage them to grow out;
place the plant in the hole, leaving it slightly higher
than ground level to allow for settling;
fill in around the plant with half compost and half
water with a vitamin supplement to encourage root growth.
Everyone knows that tulip
bulbs bloom in the spring, but if you don't plant them in
the fall, there will be few to see. Don't rely on the
bulbs left dormant in your garden over the summer. Buy
lots of tulip bulbs and get digging. All you need is
reasonably good soil, some bulb food and, of course, the
dig holes six to eight inches deep;
put some bulb food or fertilizer in each hole;
place one bulb in each hole, bottom down against the
plant in groups of 12 to 15 in different varieties.
Check for disease
When cutting back perennials,
check for diseases and pests. These are things you don't
want to come back to your garden. As you remove diseased
materials, including the leaves from your roses afflicted
with black spot, don't throw them in the compost bin; this
may only help spread the problem around your garden next
year. Be diligent - even pruners used on infected
materials should be cleaned with a household disinfectant.
There's nothing better for your garden than rich,
home-made compost. And fall is full of the best
ingredients - leaves. Leaves and other garden waste are
natural, nutrient-rich and plentiful at this time of year.
You can make the compost in something as simple as a wire
cage. The recipe is simple, too:
mix leaves, other garden wastes, some kitchen scraps (no
grease or animal fats) together;
keep moist at all times, but not sopping wet;
turn every couple of weeks. Wait about six months (you can
accelerate the process by adding a source of nitrogen,
such as a commercial fertilizer, manure or green grass
Bring in the house plants
Many house plants can be
placed outside in summer. As temperatures cool in the
fall, however, it is time to bring them inside. Some
garden annuals such as geraniums and begonias can be
placed in pots and brought indoors for the winter as well.
Before bringing any plants into your home, take a few
while the plants are still outside, remove any dead or
examine the plants carefully for pests that might infest
your other house plants;
wash the plants down - soapy water and a good rinse will
knock off dust along with spiders and other insects;
provide indoor conditions similar to what the plants were
enjoying outdoors - flourescent lamps can provide a
consistent source of light and a dish of gravel mixed with
water placed under the potted plant can provide moisture.