• Halina Biernacki

Autumn Gardening - It's All About The Roots!

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

It's the Roots!

The flowers may have faded but there's a lot going on while the plant is dormant.

So you thought spring is the time for planting. Actually spring is the time for growing.

Many gardeners think autumn means an end to gardening. The end of the season is the time to remove your spent vegetable and flower plants, clean up plant debris and weeds, and winterize your lawn furniture and water features.

Easy autumn garden ideas include raking leaves onto the lawn and mowing them with a grass catcher. The resulting mix of nitrogen and carbon makes an excellent cover for the vegetable or flower garden, which will enhance the fertility in spring and help prevent weeds.

Fall garden prep before winter enhances the appearance of the yard and ensures that tender plants get some TLC to protect them before cold weather hits.

As the cool weather sets in and the plants in our gardens fade, it’s time to think about preparing the garden for winter. Fall garden clean up is essential to the long-term health of your garden.

A little fall planning and prepping can really rev up the spring season. Autumn is the time to clean up beds, manage soils, prepare sod, to minimize problems in the new growing season. It’s also the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs and pull out tender summer bloomers.

The next step in cleaning the garden is to remove the spent plant material from the garden. Dead plants, old fruit and vegetables, and any diseased plants should be removed from the garden beds and disposed of. If the spent plant material was healthy, it can be composted. If the plant material showed signs of disease, it should be disposed of in the trash or by burning. If you compost diseased plant material, you risk re-infecting your garden next year with the same disease.

A fall head-start results in flowers that bloom earlier than those planted in spring. Fall soil is still warm from weeks of the summer sun. Roots will grow quickly and become well established before the ground freezes. A few autumn garden ideas to add color to the landscape are:

Asters, Pansies, Kale, Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, Dianthus, Black-Eye-Susan.

Late summer, August and September are good times to start fall planting and transplanting. Whereas, bulbs can be planted as late as October/November provided the ground is not frozen.

If there were such a thing as a primer of fall bulbs, it would be a very thin book. Bulbs are almost fail-proof. There is little you can do to prevent their natural flowering cycle. That being said, there are just a few things to consider:

  • Choose a sunny location for bulbs such as: tulips, daffodils, crocus, and the joyful snowdrops;

  • Adequate drainage --- fall bulbs don't like wet feet;

  • Don't plant too deep;

  • Plant the bulb with the “pointed” side facing up;

  • Try to contain your excitement in the spring!

In the meantime … release tension and go Zen … simply slow down ... it's a time of conversion from the summer heat to a crisp snap in the air.

Happy Autumn Equinox September 22 … the end of summer and the beginning of a changing cycle.

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