Try these tips for your garden this fall, winter
As colder weather sets in, slowly but surely, here are few things to keep in mind for your fall and winter garden.
Divide your overgrown perennials and cut back the dead foliage on others. Remove any dead roots from the garden and add any disease-free debris to your compost pile.
As you pull out plants and weeds, be mindful of pests and diseases. Double bag and discard diseased plants or foliages. Some diseases and pests overwinter in plant debris – remove them this fall to prevent infection next year.
Not everything in your landscape needs to go. Leave healthy perennials such as purple coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans, sunflowers and grasses; they provide habitat for beneficial insects, food for birds and visual interest for the winter landscape. Flowers that have seeds are great food for the birds, and flowers like daisies or Black-eyed Susan will reseed, and then you have more for the beds.
Lots of plants struggle in severe winter temps. Bring pots inside or group together in a planter in the garden away from the wind. Mulch the bottoms and wrap the pots with fabric. Sometimes I put a layer of newspaper around pots and wrap with burlap. On top of pots add a layer of mulch or weed-free wheat straw. Your bulbs and perennials need protection.
Sometimes our winters here are milder, and you do not have the hard freeze and thawing, so plants make it longer now than they did years ago.
Fall is a great time for planting trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Simply make sure you get them in the ground before the soil gets too cold so the roots have time to become established.
Hostas, peonies and early bloomers such as coral bells, phlox, poppies, and daisies benefit from being thinned out.
Now is the time to use your organic matter in your vegetable garden. You can sow a row crop to enrich the soil.
Of course, before you pack up your garden hose for the winter, be sure to drain it and use a cloth to remove any mud or moisture, then store in a flat, dry place.
Daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and tulips are welcome sights for the winter-weary. If you ever looked at a swath of colorful spring bulbs with envy, plant a bed of your own that will give you joy. It is best to group in colors, unless you are doing a huge bed of assorted colors. Choose colors that bring joy when you look out into your bed or you are having coffee walking in the garden early or late in the afternoon.
While buying your bulbs, give them a good once-over. Make sure they are firm, and avoid bulbs with a mushy or moldy spots. Choose the largest bulbs in the variety, as those tend to be reliable bloomers.
Check packaging for specific planting instructions. If unsure, dig a hole that’s two to three times deeper than the bulb’s height – for example, plant a 2-inch bulb a full 6 inches in the soil. A bulb auger is ideal for this if you plan a bevy this fall. Break up any clumps, remove rocks and weeds and improve drainage and overall quality by mixing in organic matter, such as compost or peat mix. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to dig one big hole and plant bulbs point up.
Enjoy your garden.