Prepping the Fall Garden
The subtle changes in weather are nodding to fall…
and we couldn’t be more excited to start preparing for the coziest season of the year. While we refresh our interiors for fall, we’re also looking to care for our yards and gardens. We chatted with a handful of our favorite gardeners and asked them to share their top fall gardening tip. From bringing your herbs indoors, to enjoying a moment of Zen in the garden, here are all the ideas for making the most of your garden this season.
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Alan Calpe & Christopher Crawford –
Though it’s been a scorching summer, with the transition to fall, it likely means it won’t be long before the arrival of the first frosts (at least in our northern region). One easy task we like to do in anticipation of dropping temperatures is to transplant some tender herbs from the garden into pots for the home. Once the plants are carefully lifted and placed in terracotta pots amended with good soil, you’ll want to give the plants a week or two outside to acclimate. When indoors, place potted herbs in an area that receives ample light, take care to water when the soil is bone dry, and you’re set. You’ll be able to enjoy the herbs in kitchen meals all throughout the colder months, and their fragrance, color, and form lend new life to your interiors while the garden outside sleeps.
Image by The Garden Heir
Christopher & Eric Feml-Nelsen –
Fall is a fantastic time to take advantage of sales and clearances at local garden centers! But more importantly, anything newly planted at the end of summer through fall needs to keep getting watered much deeper and later into the year than one might think. Our tip is to water newly planted items up through Thanksgiving in our growing zone 5b. A deep, weekly soaking of the root ball is essential. Use a slow trickle to reduce water runoff. Doing this ensures that the plants will be ready and rooted to take on the cold, and a potentially dry winter. And you’ll set up your new plantings for success come spring!
Images by Christopher and Eric Feml-Nelsen
Christian Golbreski –
My favorite fall garden tip is a bit different from the usual dividing of perennials or planting of bulbs. I like to take the last of summer’s blooms — such as dahlias, daisies, or any annuals you may have planted earlier in the season — and create a floating “Zen Garden.” Find some containers in various sizes (without drain holes), then add water, clip your blooms and float them on the surface. Adding ferns provides a nice touch as well. Try placing them by a front door for a colorful welcome, or any spot in your garden or terrace!
Image by Christian Golbreski
Tony Spencer –
Embrace the wabi-sabi in your garden. No, it’s not about tree hugging ;) Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy about finding beauty in imperfections and learning to accept the natural cycles of life. In the fall garden, that means finding beauty not only in flowers but in the patterns of their intricate seed heads, the elegance of decaying leaves, even the plant skeletons of winter. No need to cut anything back until late spring. The foraging birds and insects will thank you, too.
Images © Tony Spencer from his gardens in Mono, Ontario, Canada
Joy Wujek –
I love to keep the leaves on the ground and the dried plant stems standing until spring. Leaves help protect the root systems during freezing temperatures, return nutrients back to the soil as they degrade, provide a habitat for beneficial insects, suppress weeds, provide a hideout for butterfly and moth caterpillars and pupae, and harbor insects that birds depend on in the early spring. If you have too many leaves on your property, you can mow them into mulch, or make a compost pile for future garden seasons. (It takes 1 to 2 years for leaves to break down and become viable mulch for the garden.) As busy gardeners, we earned a rest this fall and can tend to the cleanup in the spring.
Images by Joy Wujek