Fall has arrived, and with it, the garden’s activities will inevitably slow. Perennials may be flushing with color or dropping their leaves, depending on your region. Annual vegetables are reaching the end of their growing season and are succumbing to the nip of increasing frosts. It’s tempting to close the garden gate and let nature take its course after the excitement of spring planting and the height of summer harvest. After all, you’ve done the hard work in the spring and received the advantages of summer. What else is required now that autumn has arrived?
The answer is contingent on how much simpler you’d like things to be when spring arrives. A few cautious actions taken now can save you time and work in the future. Consider some of these options for putting your garden to rest if you want to limit the amount of labor you have to do during next year’s spring rush.
Remove any unhealthy plants
While many wasted plants may be left to decompose and give nutrients to the soil, others may contain the disease, pests, or funguses. If you saw any indicators of illness throughout the growing season but didn’t act on them, now is the time to do so. If you leave the remains of your wasted crops in situ during the winter, they will safeguard the Soil preparation and reduce erosion. They can also provide a haven for pollinators overwintering in the area.
Get rid of any invasive weeds
Remember how your raspberry patch was infested with bindweed? Or the Himalayan blackberry that has encroached on the edges of your garden? It’s now or never to deal with the outlaws. Dig them up and bury them behind tarps or garden fabric.
Most invasive weeds will survive in a compost heap or weed pile, so resist the temptation to simply move them to another section of your yard. The only method to keep invasive plants from growing and disturbing the crop the next year is to remove them totally.
Prepare for spring by amending your soil.
Despite the fact that most people think of adding soil amendments like manure and compost, or organic fertilizers like bone meal, kelp, and rock phosphate in the spring, October is an excellent time to do it. In most climes, providing fertilizers now allows them to break down, enrich your soil, and become biologically active. You’ll have already completed some of the labor when the busy season arrives if you amend the soil now.
To prevent winter rains from cleaning the amendments below the productive root zone, mulch your soil or grow a cover crop (see below). This is particularly crucial in raised beds, which flush faster than in-ground beds. Early in the spring, before fresh planting, remove the mulch.
Establish cover crops.
Late summer or early fall is a suitable time to plant cover crops like rye, vetch, or clover in many areas. These crops aid in soil erosion prevention, breaking up compacted regions, and increasing organic matter levels in garden beds. Cover crops also contribute nutrients to your soil and aid in the removal of carbon from the environment.
Planting legumes like clover or field peas in your garden can improve the amount of nitrogen accessible to your garden plants. While it’s a good idea to sow cover crops about a month before the first deadly frost, some are harder than others. To choose the finest autumn cover crop for your area, talk to your local extension agent or seed supplier.
Carefully prune perennials
Fall is a great time to prune perennial plantings, but make sure you choose the right ones. While certain plants, such as fennel, benefit from fall pruning, a study reveals that discarded raspberry canes nourish the plant’s crown well into the winter.
Blueberries also benefit from spring trimming, which protects the plant from disease and stress. Flowers like roses, herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage, and crops like asparagus and rhubarb should all be pruned in the fall. An autumn clean-up is also beneficial to blackberries. To assist restrict the plant’s aggressive spread, remove any spent or crossed canes.
Keep your perennial blooming plants, especially those with seed heads, from being trimmed back. These will provide great food for your neighborhood’s overwintering birds, as well as add interest to your winter garden. During the winter, stalks and leaves safeguard the vulnerable crowns of seedlings.
Plant bulbs after dividing them
Although spring bulbs have long since blossomed and faded back, lilies and other blooming bulbs have only lately bloomed. It’s time to dig up and divide any plants that seemed crowded or straggly throughout the growth season three to four weeks following that magnificent display.
In establishing the location of spring bulbs, some guesswork may be required. Other plants will be more noticeable. 4-8 inches distant from the plant’s emerging stem, carefully remove the earth. Lift bulbs gently and separate bulblets as soon as possible for transplanting to a new site in the garden.
If you dug up your spring bulbs for splitting, now is the time to replant them. Next year’s daffodils, tulips, and crocuses are all ready to be planted.
Compost harvesting and regeneration
You might be tempted to disregard your compost heap now that the summer heat has passed and nature’s germs have settled in for a winter snooze. In two senses, this would be a blown chance. To begin, composted material from the summer is most likely complete and ready to use. Adding this nutrient-dense material to garden beds, amending weak soils, and fertilizing lawns and landscaping in the spring will feed your soil and spark development.
Second, emptying away finished compost makes room for a new batch, which can be protected against the frost of winter in most places. Build a fall compost heap with plenty of autumn leaves, straw, or sawdust topped with kitchen scraps to keep those bacteria working a little longer.
In vegetative tissue, potassium (K) concentrations typically range from 1% to 4% of dry matter. Plants take N and P in the form of compounds, while K+ is absorbed as K+. Enzyme activity, water and energy relationships, transpiration and translocation, and N absorption and protein synthesis are all influenced by K.