This fall garden calendar has some relaxing work for you to do. Like me, the ‘fruits of your labor’ are almost overwhelming this year– canning/freezing/preserving lies ahead, but take your time. The peace that comes from harvesting the warm vegetables and fruit in the softer rays of the autumn sun is immeasurable. The fragrance of that warm fruit and the gentle buzzing of the bees as they bounce through the last of the meadow flowers softens the heart.
Coordinate all your actions and do some maintenance while you harvest. It won’t seem so overwhelming.
- There are a lot of things you can do as you harvest. After I finished picking all my Asian Pears, I climbed back up the ladder and pruned all the tree branches, shortening them back to the fruit-bearing spurs for next year. Pruning done as I go.
- You can prune all your other deciduous trees now too. I’ll be posting a video to show you how in an upcoming blog.
- If you didn’t get to it earlier this year, prune all your spring flowering shrubs now so there is still time to establish some ‘old’ wood. Don’t wait! The new branches that grow now will be where your flower buds start. Spring blooming shrubs set blossoms on the previous season’s growth (old wood).
- Only lightly prune your roses now to keep them in shape. Wait until full dormancy to give them a good hard pruning to bring them back in control.
- Don’t make the mistake of pruning your Ornamental Grasses! This is their season for their gorgeous bloom, the seed-heads catching the low-rays of the autumn sun illuminating them from behind. If you’ve never seen the full-sized Ornamental Grasses in winter, just wait until you see them in the snow. Birds love them!
- Perennial beds are best left to their own devices over winter. Do not prune back anything. Perennials like to self-sow and spread during these cold months. As the branches bend down and become covered with snow, the dead matter acts as an insulator, for the core of the plant. If we have a wet winter, decomposition can begin.
- Pick one section of your perennial bed that hasn’t had much attention over the years and rejuvenate now. Adding more organic matter will make your plants very happy and conserve water.
- Let your wildflowers go to seed and self-sow. This means no pruning! I always say, a messy garden is a happy garden, and a happier gardener.
- Cold weather crops such as lettuce, onions, peas and radishes. Get a new crop of herbs started. You won’t believe the enhanced flavor of the herbs as cooler weather sets in. If they are planted in a semi-protected area so they can grow most of the winter, lettuce, spinach and parsley will be extra sweet. The snow just acts as insulation.
- Fall is a wonderful time to divide and replant your perennials. Adding extra compost to keep the organic matter generating. Now is the time to share some of your favorites with your friends and spread the joy.
- Trees and shrubs love to be planted in the fall. The cooler weather allows the roots to grow and spread while the tops are going dormant. Be sure and keep them watered.
- Bulbs can be planted until the soil freezes. Follow the directions for depth and be sure to add a nice sprinkle of bone meal.
- Replace your lawn now with new ground covers such as creeping thyme and ice plant. You’ll only have to water once a day because the soil stays moist.
- As we head into late fall and winter, be sure to continue watering at least once a week until full dormancy. If you’ve moved and replanted perennials, keep them moist until the roots become established.
- Water all your trees at least once a month unless we get a lot of rain or snow. The single biggest cause of winter death is not the cold, its lack of water. Even when trees are dormant above the ground, their roots continue growing.
- Fall and winter is the absolute most perfect time to re-establish your soil. If you’ve attended any of my presentations you know that good soil is the basis of water preservation and a fabulous, no-work garden. Add lots of organic matter and manure and let it percolate over winter.
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In sync with nature,