Trimming fruit trees in summer, removing dying leaves and beets, and cutting back perennial blooms in the garden is just the beginning.
It’s time to do a little maintenance on your perennial gardens to ensure they will be growing through the winter.
Go ahead and plant your herb, bush or shrub, and trim a few branches from it to spruce up its silhouette, but keep in mind that you want to put that time, effort and energy into your herb’s new spring plan.
Don’t neglect the rest of your perennials. Think about trimming bulbs, cutting back perennials, putting them in a cool spot, or simply pulling weeds from around them.
If you are in a hurry, trim the hard, bulb-headed perennials before planting the bulbs this fall.
The timing is important. Bulbs will only bloom when planted in spring.
The weather could be damp and cold, but the soil should still be moist.
You will only need to fertilize your bulbs in spring. If you leave them in the garden, mulch the bulbs to keep them from getting their leaves wet.
The late winter is the perfect time to start your bulbs now.
And this will ensure the bulbs grow quickly, bloom abundantly and set seed easily during the fall and early winter, making your perennials a source of beauty for you throughout the rest of the year.
At this time of year, the idea of setting your garden aside for the winter is bittersweet.
On one hand, you can’t wait to dig into the soil and begin cultivating your garden again.
On the other, you know that your outdoor space will be feeling pretty chilled and its appearance will be greatly reduced if you wait any longer.
So what’s a gardener to do?
Spring is right around the corner! But do your plants need any help in weathering the rest of the winter? Of course they do. So now’s the time to give them all that little extra love they need to enjoy a long and fruitful growing season.
Today, we’ll be sharing some fall and winter garden care that’s essential to the health and well-being of your plants.
Till the soil
In a short-lived climate, you’ll want to till your soil no later than early fall. If the weather is wet and cool, wait until it begins to dry out a little before tilling. This will prevent clods from building up.
If the weather is hot and dry, you can till now if you’re prepared.
How you go about it is up to you, but don’t forget to make room for plants as you work.
When you’re done tilling, you’ll want to add amendments like compost and green manures to your soil. This will not only give your plants a bit of extra nutrition and fertilizer, but it will also add a nice layer of organic matter to your soil.
As a side note, “when” is a relative term, and it varies by where you live. A good rule of thumb is to work into your garden before the soil freezes, and if you get several inches of snow before that, you can work through that, too.
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Fertilizer can be an integral part of your garden’s overall health, but too much can be bad for your plants.
You’ll want to keep fertilizer applications on the lower side, and only use it after you see some evidence of soil fertility decline, such as yellowing of the leaves or some fungal diseases.
And if you’ve been keeping track, you’ve probably noticed that your pH levels have dropped somewhat over the years.
To bring them back to neutral soil, you’ll need to start fertilizing them.
Phosphorus, potassium, and calcium are three nutrients your plants need to grow and maintain their growth.
In the warmer months, you can fertilize two or three times a month.
As the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, you’ll want to fertilize more often.
Fertilize after rainfall to ensure you supply all the minerals your plants need, even during dry periods.
When you’re ready, apply nitrogen-based fertilizer to your garden. You want to add it to your pots, but you’ll want to apply it at the beginning of the season, or by spring.
Perennials need nitrogen more than anything, so they’ll appreciate a boost of nitrogen in their early months.
Take a good look at your plants and see if you can tell the difference between your weeds and the plants you planted.
You may be able to see some weeds starting to appear after you stop fertilizing.
While that’s not ideal, it’s certainly preferable to adding extra fertilizer later.
Now, let’s talk about the pesky weeds you won’t be able to see.
If your perennials are struggling to take hold, you’ll want to start incorporating them into your garden now.
Sow them now, as late fall and winter are just the perfect time for germinating seeds