What do you need to be ready for the fall garden season? A little prep and some forethought could be all it takes. The following article addresses a few timely gardening tasks in the landscape and in your vegetable gardens that will have you ready and raring to go for a successful fall garden season.
5 Tips for Successful Fall Garden Prep
2. Build and Enrich Your Soil. Please, please, please do not skip this step. Each season you plant, you should be adding about 3”- 4” of quality, rich, organic material into your existing garden plots, whether raised beds or in ground. Don’t just layer it on top. Get down and dirty and mix it in really well. This is a good time to mix in some quality, granular fertilizer too (read and follow labels). Take time to pull our any weed seedlings, old roots, leftover plastic plant tags, etc… A real good clean up and the addition of soil amendments will give your fall garden a fresh start for the season.
3. Offer Haircuts. Right now (first couple weeks of August) you should be pruning back your woody perennials by 1/3 so that they can dazzle you with a new flush of growth and beautiful blooms in fall. I know, I know, you still have some blooms on your perennials right now. It’s okay. You can sacrifice a few for the better of the plant. Believe me on this one. I bet you will be so excited about the way your perennials look and perform for you in fall that you will remember to do it every year from now on.
The bonus of pruning back many of your perennials is that you might stumble across a few things you didn’t notice were there. I found weedy intruders growing up right in the middle of my unruly salvia. A quick tug and I removed the competition for nutrients in the soil.
4. Buy While Available. If you have dreams of direct seeding cool weather veggies like beets, carrots, turnips, and other root vegetables, come get your fall seed packets now while they are stocked on the racks. We’ve been spreading the word on getting prepared, and it IS bonus bucks month, so customers are coming in and buying stuff off. If you have a favorite in mind, don’t procrastinate. (This could also be said for any tomato and veggie transplants, fertilizers, weed control, etc…everything ELSE you will need for fall. More on that later.)
5. Plan for Pollinators. Fall pollinator migrations will shortly be on their way. We’ve been trying our best to bring in tons of host and nectar plants to offer them sustenance and shelter for their journey. Don’t wait until that first Monarch arrives and then zooms out of your yard because you have nothing to offer. Come get our favorite fall nectar offerings now. By the time the butterflies arrive, your blooms will be ready and waiting. (More on pollinators next week.)
Get ready cause here it comes!
The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy