Changing leaves and falling temperatures may not make you think of spring. But chores you do in your garden now can have a big impact during next year’s growing season. Fall is a great time to do some work in the garden that will give you a head start next spring. Follow these tips to maximize the time you spend in your garden this autumn.
Feed your garden beds
Even though your garden beds are getting ready for their winter’s rest, they will be grateful for extra nourishment. Spread an even layer of compost on all your garden beds before winter. Over the cold season, the compost will work down into the soil, and your beds will be well-fed and ready for planting come spring.
Who doesn’t love some free seeds? You can score plenty if you take the extra time to collect seeds from your plants this fall. Allow some of your flowers and vegetables to set seeds, and collect them at the end of the season. You can then save them for planting next year, or directly sow them in the ground now so that they’ll sprout next year.
Now is the best time to divide and transplant those early-flowering perennials that are taking over your garden. If you plant them now, you’ll be sure that those transplants will flower come spring. Now is also a great time to score discounted perennials at garden centers and home stores. Many of these varieties can be planted in the fall to enjoy next spring.
Clean bird feeders
If you love attracting birds to your yard with feeders, now is the time to clean them. Feeders need to be cleaned regularly with warm water and left to air dry. Otherwise, you risk getting your feathered friends sick. Once your feeders are clean, you can enjoy watching the birds all winter long and well into the spring season.
Cut back plants
As the fall season progresses, many of your beautiful plants and flowers will turn brown and die. You can cut back many of your perennials now, though you may want to consider leaving some for the birds and insects to enjoy over the winter months. That “mess” will help to sustain the life that is essential for the health of your spring garden. When you cut back plants, you can compost them unless they show signs of disease.
Clean your garden tools
It’s not usually anybody’s favorite job, but you will thank yourself come spring if you clean and care for your garden tools now. Wash and dry all your tools. Oil, sharpen, and repair those you need for cutting. Store them in a cool, dry place over the winter. In the springtime when there’s loads of work to be done, you’ll be glad all your tools are in working order. Now is also the best time to clean your pots and containers. Wash them with a bleach solution, let them air dry, and store them over the winter.