Although we don’t particularly want to think about it, winter is approaching, and it is time to get your gardens ready to survive the upcoming days of snow and cold.
Fall is filled with days of raking up leaves, trimming bushes, and cleaning up garden beds. The once colourful landscape of garden beds starts to look more monochromatic. There is a silver lining to fall gardening though!
First let’s start with the knowledge that you still have time to plant! We’re not just talking about your standard Daffodil and Tulip bulbs. Now is an ideal time to plant; specifically, your perennials, shrubs, vines and trees. In the fall, the soil is still warm, soft and dry, making it easier to plant. The roots will get a chance to grow and establish themselves before spring. In the spring the soil is often heavy, wet and mushy, and the temperature increases rapidly. This can result in transplant shock, as the foliage grows too fast to be supported by the not yet established root system. As someone who loves gardening and fall, but isn’t a fan of the impending winter, knowing I can still go out there and plant makes it a bit easier.
There is something to be said for having cleaned out and organized garden beds in the fall. It allows for your garden to flourish in the spring, not to mention it makes you look like a gardening pro to all your Thanksgiving guests. Make sure you trim back all your perennials, removing dead stalks and plants that are no longer thriving. Remove all the weeds and gently till up the soil. Now is a great time to add compost to your soil, it allows the nutrients to be absorbed more efficiently by the plants, giving them a head start in the spring
Don’t forget to protect all your perennials and shrubs for winter. There are many innovative options available, however, old school might still be the best. Straw is an excellent insulator against the harsh climates and is still one of the most effective protectors against the cold. Placing a bed of straw or raked leaves around your shrubs and over your perennials will prevent the roots from becoming damaged. You can still add a winter hut on top for an extra layer of protection.