The rain is back and the sun is fleeting but, that’s why I love fall gardening.
I’ve discovered that even a drizzly fall day can be lovely in the garden. Here are five ways that you can make the most of fall while preparing your garden for an early spring:
1. Plant bulbs now.
Some of the earliest signs of spring are flowering bulbs and the best time for planting bulbs is right now, in the fall!
2. Tidy up.
Fall is also the best time to prune as plants begin to go dormant for the winter. Trim perennial flower heads and trees and shrubs that have grown unruly or a bit too big for their allotted space. Some tips though: don’t prune more than 25% of a tree or shrub and if you want it to look natural, don’t trim it into a perfect ball. Think like a hairdresser and go for layers, instead of buzz cut.
3. Plant cover crops.
Try something new this year for those bare winter parts of your yard like the vegetable garden, annual flower beds, or that spot that you’re just not ready to deal with. Clean it up now instead of trying to tackle aggressive spring weeds, then plant a cover crop. Cover crops help keep soil healthy by reducing erosion in winter rains. They aerate the soil so that it doesn’t compact, and they fix nitrogen into the soil. Crimson Clover is my favorite but you can also get some great mixes.
4. Get ready for spring garden projects.
Winter is the time to prepare your plans for garden improvements. Collect and repair your tools, and research and gather any needed materials. If you have a clear idea of what you are going to change in your garden and how you are going to change it, come spring you won’t have to waste entire weekends running back and forth to Home Depot.
It’s this end-of-season gardening that pulls me outside to enjoy the beauty of fall while planting sweet dreams for an early spring. Give it a try! You’ll love it, even in the rain!