Fall Garden Prep for Success Next Year

fall garden prep success next year
Many gardeners appreciate the fall season because it means more work. That’s right! I said more work. At least that’s what most non-gardeners will think. The fall is a great time of year to be outside and get your lawn and garden ready for next spring. Although we are putting our gardens to bed we are preparing them to help bring a new spring season to life. There are many tasks to complete and not all gardens will be the same. It depends on what a gardener wants to get out of their landscape. 
With most yards having at least some lawn, let’s start there. When will you stop mowing your lawn? The easiest answer is when it stops growing for the season. In the summer when it is hot you usually leave your grass longer to save it from drying out but in the fall it is a good idea to cut it shorter to reduce the risk of mould and rodent damage from mice and voles over winter. Voles live above the ground under the snow and eat pathways in the lawn especially when it is left too long going into winter. Lawn fertilizing should only be applied if it is a fall fertilizer that is slow release. Raking up leaves can also be very therapeutic.
With vegetable gardens, it is a good time to dig them up and add compost or Manure. It is also a good time to check the pH of the soil to ensure that it is in a good range for growing the vegetables you like.
Fall Garden Prep for Success Next Year collecting seeds
For flower beds, it is a good time to collect seeds that you may want to try growing for next year. Once that is done hardy perennials can be cut back which is easier to do in the fall compared to when they are wet and rotted in the spring. This also helps prevent diseases that occur in left wet foliage. Between plants can be dug up or cultivated with the addition of good quality compost or well-rotted manure. This will add organic matter to the area and allow it to maintain moisture longer as well as aerate compacted soil for roots to more easily grow. Be careful if using a fertilizer because you want plants to become dormant and not push new growth. Most fertilizing will stop in mid-summer except for annuals. They can be fertilized into late summer.
Plants like dahlias, gladiolus, canna lilies and geraniums that you want to over winter to save money need to be removed and brought in and stored in a cool location. These all have special requirements and potting up times to over winter in your house so worth researching.
Fall is also the time to plant fall bulbs so they emerge in the spring. Some varieties to look for at your local garden center, depending on where you live are Allium, Crocus, Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Tulips, and Scilla.
With shrub beds, once again you can dig in compost or simply mix it into the top couple of inches of soil if you find roots are in the area. Pruning can be done to shape plants and remove excess foliage but heavier pruning should be done over the winter as a rule of thumb. Make sure you check you plant requirements because some spring-flowering shrubs need to be pruned right after their blooms die off in spring like Lilacs.
Fall Garden Prep for Success Next Year
Fall is also a great time to use mulch in shrub and perennial beds. To avoid weeds you need to apply about 3-4 inches of mulch but remember to not put it right up against the trunks of shrubs and trees. This can cause some plants to rot and can also make it easier in the winter for mice to damage trunks. On that note, it is often a good idea to use a plastic tree guard if you find this to be a problem in your area and taller ones can be purchased for larger animals like rabbits. With even larger animals, like deer, a small fence may need to be set up.
The last thing to remember is to water your plants in for the winter as this will help insulate the roots from the cold weather. In Chinook areas that may mean bringing the hose back out after you have already put it away for the winter.
Happy Gardening!

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on FacebookTwitter,YouTubeInstagram and Pinterest for other tips and hints.


Guest post by Rich - Bylands Account Representative

My personal garden is now 23 years old and most of the trees 25 years. shrubs, evergreens and perennial beds are all bordered with large sandstone boulders. Two reasons I have had to replant each year are: Shasta Daisy was a white German Shepherd and Georgia Peach is a caramel with white and black Shepherd, Husky something cross. My dogs are always named after plants.