Fall officially started on September 23rd. The afternoons are warm; the mornings, however, are nice and cool and have inspired me to get out in the yard and enjoy the pleasant temperatures. Fall can be a really busy time for the gardener. Fall is a great time to do a soil test; should your results show that you need to add lime, the winter months will allow the lime to be incorporated into the soil before the next growing season begins. A soil test now will also allow you to see what other improvements need to be made to the soil. Fall is not a good time to add fertilizer as you don’t want to cause your plants to have a growing spurt and tender shoots be killed by the first frost. However, you can add amendments such as compost to the soil It is time to cut back the spent annuals and clean the perennial bed.
Fall is a great time to start a compost pile with all those wonderful leaves that will soon be covering the lawns. When others begin bagging and carrying their leaves to the curb, you can pick up those bags and add them to your compost pile. Chopped up leaves and pinestraw make great mulch too!
The most important point about fall for gardeners is that we are at the best time to plant in our area (with mid winter being the second best). Fall planting allows the us to take advantage of how a plant grows. During the winter, plants become dormant, meaning they are growing more slowly and are not having to expend loads of energy on putting on leaves and flowers. So new plants can spend the winter months growing a strong root system. Another positive of fall planting is that Mother Nature will keep them watered over the winter. (However, if the days are very dry, you will need to supplement the rainfall.) Newly planted ornamentals and trees are not stressed by intense heat and drought as they can be, if planted in the spring..
Fall is also a good time to add winter color, such as pansies to your landscape. There is nothing more wonderful than a container or a bed of pansies to provide winter time cheer.
Make a visit to a garden center and bring home something new to add to your landscape. Enjoy!