It seems like it was yesterday that I was in the midst of summer, and now here I am in November! As much as I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the garden in spring and summer there is much to say about the lazy days of autumn. There is even time to sit and read a book!
But before I can take it easy, I have to make sure the garden is good to go before the frost arrives (which did stop over for one night!), so here is what I am up to in my garden this month:
1. Clean out overgrown brush in between the trees. I like to wait until I’ve have at least one frost so I know all those ticks are dead before I go traipsing through the woods.
2. Get those bulbs in the ground! It is not too late, but make sure you do it before the ground freezes! They will not survive another year in the basement.
3. And if you haven’t already done so, pot up any bulbs you plan to force! You need this to be finished by early November so they have enough time in the cold to produce pretty flowers come the New Year! I also like to pot up paperwhites and amaryllis for thanksgiving and Christmas table displays. I usually pot-up paperwhites every 2-3 weeks for continuous flowering throughout the winter.
4. Plant your woody shrubs and trees ASAP! Fall is the ideal time to plant these, but it is best to get them in the ground before it turns solid!
5. Take soil samples before the ground thaws (if I haven’t already done so) to send into my local extension to have it analyzed. If you store the soil and wait until after the holidays there is a price break!
6. Prune anything that looks damaged, diseased or infected. Remember not to compost anything that is unhealthy. And while you have your pruners out be sure to collect the festive red winterberry berries for holiday arrangements and decorations!
7. Plan and dig new beds for nest spring. I also like to lasagna mulch (layer with cardboard, newspaper, hay & compost) them before the snow comes.
8. General Yard Clean up – you know, all the leaves and pine needles that litter the ground, put away the patio furniture, compost all the remaining annuals that finally succumbed to the frost (which includes my red verbena that has finally taken a hit), and get ready for winter (stake the driveway edges).
9. Fall Compost Tip: Create a separate compost pile of your fallen leaves. It makes a wonderful leaf mold that your plants will enjoy next spring!
10. Order seed catalogs … and begin the exciting prospect of planning next years garden! I find it helpful to take some pictures of the yard all cleaned up so you can easily remember what your freshly cleaned palette looks like!