Fall is a good and appropriate season to perform complete garden evaluation.This should also include all the successes and the failures. It is also a good time to add new plants including shrubs, trees, perennials, winter-annuals and seeds.If perennials are too large, divide and replant or sharedivisions with friends. As trees and shrubs begin to drop their leaves thedesign and layout of your landscape becomes more evident;perhaps you will decide to add some structure such as an arbor, a fence or abench. Here are some of the very useful tips and checkpoints for fall gardening;

  1. Remove and dispose of any diseased foliage of perennials, roses, shrubsand trees. This will reduce populations of overwintering insects and helplimit disease problems next spring and summer.
  2. Send soil samples to your local extension service so that you can knowwhat type of amendments you need to add before you plant this fall or nextspring.
  3. Rake up leaves of shrubs and trees and add to your compost pile.
  4. Cut back and divide spring blooming perennials.
  5. Top dress perennials, trees and shrubs with 2 inches of organic material(such as compost ). Keep compost away from trunks and stems to reduce diseasepotential.
  6. Transplant divisions to desired location. Prepare the area (adding soil amendments) ahead of time. Water after you transplant and throughout thefall as needed.
  7. Add spring blooming bulbs (including daffodils, tulips and crocus) oncethe soil temperatures have cooled to 60 degrees F. at a depth of 3 to 4inches. If you have problems with deer or other critters like chipmunks,choose bulbs that are “deer and rodent resistant” including daffodils andsummer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum). Make sure that the soil has 1/3organic material and is well drained. For gardeners in Zone 8 or 9, somespring bulbs require a pre-chilling. As I said on Hometalk.com, a social network for people withhome and garden projects, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs is a great source for bulbs.
  8. Plant container-grown or balled and burlapped trees, shrubs and hardyperennials. In your gardens you can plant well into November, but you should get plants into the ground by early October so that they will acclimate before winter weather arrives.
  9. Add a 1 to 2 inch layer of mulch after planting, keeping it away from trunks and stems.
  10. Add winter annuals in gardens including pansies, snapdragons,parsley as well as ornamental kale and cabbages. Plant before November soplants can establish roots before winter. Keep plants watered on a regularbasis, and adjust amounts according to the weather.
  11. Plant seeds for poppies and larkspur in October.Prepare soil, rake it out and then sow seeds directly.Do not cover seeds.Seedlings should appear as early as November. Wait until February to sow spring blooming annuals.
  12. You can also add winter crops to the vegetable garden like lettuce, arugula, kale and spinach.
  13. try growing winter salad greens incold frames and under row cover. Plant winter salad greens now, because oncethe temperature drops below 50 degrees F, it takes longer for seeds togerminate.
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