Fall Gardening Tips from Sue Adams
Putting the Garden to Bed
This is mostly a matter of cleaning and covering up. As the temperatures drop, those plants that aren’t killed outright by frost prepare for dormancy. Clear out the spent stems and foliage of annual flowers and vegetables to prevent the possibility of their harboring disease pathogens and insect eggs over the winter. This is a good time to make general repairs as well. Did you wish you had a cold frame last spring? Now is a good time to make one. You can sow a cover crop like winter rye to nourish the soil.
Cut back dry stems of perennials to soil level after frost to neaten the garden. Leave stems with attractive seed heads for winter interest.
Mulching will protect plants and soil over the winter months. The idea is not so much to keep the soil warm, but to keep the temperature even to prevent heaving. Great use for fallen leaves! When the forsythias bloom in the spring, remove the mulch.
Plant bulbs before the ground freezes. Seeing the first shoots in early spring is delightful! Purchase a few extra bulbs to force indoors.
Lift dahlia tubers, begonias and gladiolus corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove dead foliage before storing.
Divide into clumps once they are dormant.
Prepare a bed and plant garlic bulbs. Cover with a layer of mulch.