By Carol Traulsen
The transition of seasons means an end to the bounty of the summer garden but for gardeners there’s still work to do. Here’s a quick list of things to prepare your garden for fall
1. Freshen up the soil. Add bone meal, fresh soil or mulch. Do the same if you container garden. Fresh soil will help if you plan to plant cool weather crop.
2. Plant your cool weather crops and spring bulbs. Crops like broccoli, cabbage, beets and bulbs like tulips and daffodils are ideal. A little planning and you’ll have veggies all winter and lovely flowers come spring.
3. I know you’re expecting me to say prune your trees right? Don’t! Leave them alone! Leave it for the dead of winter or early spring if you must. Most gardeners do too much. Pruning really does more harm than good. It will stimulate growth when they are trying to go dormant With the exception of fruit trees, most plants don’t need it.
4. Fertilize your lawn. Use a slow release fertilizer with nitrogen. The ideal time is when the lawn has stopped growing but before the first frost. This assures a quick green up come spring.
5. Rake and compost leaves. This seems obvious but the dead leaves can do more good on a compost heap or used as mulch around plants or on top of your cooler weather seedlings.
6. Drain and put away hoses, clean and sharpen gardening tools before storing them.
7. Dig up your herbs if they are in your garden. Allow them to dry out and if they’ve been growing vigorously all summer cut them back by have before transplanting them into a pot inside. I find it easier to plant them into small pots and just move them indoors to the kitchen window sill.
8. If you still have unripe tomatoes and the frost is fast approaching, pull up the vines by the roots and hang them upside down in a cool, dark place to finish ripening.
9. Transplant your rhubarb strawberries and raspberries well before the first light frost so that the plants have time to develop roots. These kinds of plants can deplete the soil so every three to four years you’ll need to find a new location for them.
10. It’s time to clean up. Remove debris, dead leaves, weeds, and spent plants from the garden and any water features you have, such as fountains. You don’t want dead leaves clogging up the works.