Well I certainly hope you got the first 6 items done from last weeks list.
9. Move plants. This is a good time to evaluate plants that may not have been doing as well as expected. Remember the right plant in the right place will be much healthier.
11. Rake and clean up. Leaves are easier to pick up when they are dry, so periodic cleanups are better than waiting until all the leaves have fallen and become mushy. You can either compost them or shred them and use them as mulch. When you cut back your perennials you can cut them into small pieces and they will compost more quickly. Avoid adding material to the compost that you know is diseased, you will only help to spread it to the rest of your garden.
12. Lawn. It’s a little late to sow seed now but you can still fertilize. Fertilizing in fall is the best time because the soil is still relatively warm and you can build a better root system than in the spring. I would recommend an organic commercial winterizer. At the public garden where I worked, we would thatch one year, aerate the next and the third year let it rest. At home I don’t care for the perfect lawn, in fact I encourage the moss because it is easier and that is what likes to grow in this wet area. I do use a little fertilizer in the open sunny areas. (if I remember). I need to do this soon too.
13. Mulch. The final step in putting the garden to bed is to mulch. You can do this anytime during the fall or winter. At home I use my own compost. I shred all my leaves and use them directly on the bed. I have enough to cover about half the garden. On the other half I use the 2 year old compost from the animals and yard waste. I switch the sections of the garden each year so the whole garden gets both every other year. Composting as I clean up also helps to protect the plants from the winter cold. It acts as a layer of insulation. At the public garden where I worked we would finish the clean up and then had to buy in compost so would do it all at once in February. We bought a two-way mix, half composted steer manure and half composted bark.
14. Last but not least, find a good book and go indoors. I would highly recommend Marty Wingate’s ‘Potting Shed Mysteries’ or her new book ‘Te Bodies in the Library’. They are set in English gardens. A very fun read. Nothing like a horticultural murder mystery.
It’s cold out. It is also important to recharge your own batteries for the next gardening season.