From the garden of Beth DiGioia, TAOLB Resident Gardener

fall_garden_clean_up

 

It’s still hot, the kids are back in school and the Holidays are coming up.  Our spring eagerness to be in the garden started to wane in August; right about now it’s gone.  So let’s summon up a little more energy and put the garden to bed. 

  1. Collect seeds from all the plants that you would like in your garden next year (hybrids produce sterile seeds so don’t bother with them).  You’ll know seeds are ready when the capsules have turned brown and are brittle.  Place seeds in paper coin envelopes, label and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar.
  2. Pull up all the warm season annuals and put them in the compost pile.
  3. Harvest the annual herbs and warm season vegetables from the garden. 
  4. Dig up and divide overgrown clumps of spring blooming perennials and re-plant them while the soil is still warm.  Water well after planting.
  5. Lift the tender bulbs and roots of Caladiums, Dahlia, and Tuberous Begonia.  Let them dry for a week or so, cut off the foliage and store them in a warm, ventilated area (don’t forget to label them).
  6. Fertilize the lawn by November 15th.  Fall is the best time to fertilize grass to help it develop increased shoot density and a deep root system so it can better survive next summer’s heat.  Water the day before fertilizing so the granules dissolve more easily.
  7. Fertilize flower and vegetable gardens to replenish the soil and prepare plants for a quicker green up in the spring
  8. Stay ahead of the leaves.  The easiest way I know to do this is to mow once a week with a mulching mower (with the bag attached).  When the bag is full, dump the mulched leaves in the flower bed and spread them out.  Leaves that fall on hard surfaces can be blown onto the grass before mowing.
  9. Mulch flower and vegetable garden beds while the soil is still warm.  The mulch will act as a blanket and insulate the root system of plants.

 

Set aside an hour every morning for these tasks.  It’s cooler in the morning and remember “you can eat an elephant one bite at a time”.  Soon all the chores will be done and you will be able to relax with a nice cup of tea and your garden journal to plan for next year!   

For more of Beth’s garden tips, please visit our McKinney Gardens page.

 

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