If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, it’s probably no secret that Fall is my favorite time of year. Since we’re about to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox next week, I thought I’d throw out some useful Fall Gardening advice. Here’s our Top 3 Tips for Fall Gardening!
Tips for Fall Gardening #1: Use Your Leaves in Your Landscape
You don’t have to bag your leaves and throw them away! They have a purpose in your yard, should you choose to accept them. Actually, there’s several ways to use leaves in your landscape!
- Leaf Mulch – you can shred your leaves and then rake them under your landscape shrubs, trees, and even in your flower beds. This not only protects the roots from the upcoming cold weather, it enriches your soil, gives burrowing insects and worms a place to live, and allows your landscape to have a more natural “forest-fresh” feel. You don’t see Mother Nature raking up forest leaves in the Fall and bagging and sending them to the landfill, do you? I didn’t think so. She leaves them on the ground to create fertile soil
- Mulch-in-place – using a mulching mower, you can cut up your leaves and mulch in place in your lawn. This gives your grass extra nutrients as the leaves decompose and helps keep grass roots from freezing during cold snaps.
- Composting – creating a compost pile is a great way to lower your carbon footprint, and leaves can be composted to create great soil for next season. Want more information about composting? Check my article here.
Here is another article on using leaves instead of sending them to the landfill.
Tips for Fall Gardening #2: Plant New Trees & Shrubs in Fall
Fall is a good time to plant new trees and shrubs. In Central Florida, Fall is still warm enough that roots will have time to stretch down into the soil and get established through the mild Winter. There’s still enough sunlight in early Fall for photosynthesis to happen at a decent rate to help that establishment.
Also in the Fall, the heat won’t be as much of a factor in mitigating transplant shock, and without the heat you won’t need as much water to get your new trees/shrubs rooted in place.
As a bonus, the weather has started to cool off (I know, it’s very gradual, but watch the numbers, you’ll see!), so you won’t sweat as much, especially if you’re working in the early mornings or in the evenings.
Tips for Fall Gardening #3: Think About Adding Structures
Fall is a great time to look at the big picture in your yard and garden. Do you need some more “vertical interest”? Would you like to build and outdoor room to give your space some structure and a bit more function? If you’re focused on vegetables now, do you want to add flower beds, shrubs, trees, or fruit trees to make it more well-rounded and attractive to more wildlife?
These are big questions, I know. But in the Fall, when leaves are fading and growth is slowing, it’s a good time to identify some holes in your plantings. It’s also a good time to dream of a comfortable outdoor space that can be enjoyed as the weather cools down; even if it’s just a simple firepit and a bench or hammock. Making places for certain activities can give you a sense of more space for living, recreation, and relaxing. And that’s never a bad thing. After all, why else do we work so hard in our yards if not to enjoy them?
I wrote about some ideas for structures in my previous article here.
I hope these tips helped you get a new project going, or maybe just gave you an excuse to NOT bag up those leaves for the landfill.
Until next time – Keep Growing!