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36. Falling into the Winter Zone
In between my time writing and teaching you all about gardening, greenhouses and about me - I have been enjoying my last few days of fall and it seems that winter is fast approaching, even though I would like to make time stand still. I keep covering my flowerbeds most nights to keep the frost at bay, but I think I am fighting a loosing battle with that element of my garden. I have decided today would be a good day to talk about how to enjoy those last days of summer and the last days your garden will be giving back for your enjoyment. Great ready for winter with these fall tips:
To ensure that your spring garden will be full and healthy cut back those plants that are dying off or that are dead. When you cut back the dead portions of the plants, you are allowing the root systems to capture the needed nutrients and water to hibernate over the winter months. When they come back to life in the spring, your plants will be fuller and healthier. Cutting back both perennials and your annuals, you will be putting nutrients back into the ground as the decaying plants are close to the ground and then absorbed in to the soil.
Don’t forget to go back through your vegetable garden and to pick the bounties of your labor from the summer months. Even if you still have green tomatoes, you can ripen these by placing them in a cool spot in your home.
If you have planted new bushes, shrubs or trees this fall don’t forget to water them continually. Most of us plant in the fall to increase our spring bounties, but forget that these plants need watered right up until the ground freezes to get them ‘set’ for the winter season.
When you are cutting your grass, one of those last times this fall, you should run over the big pile of leaves that is in your yard. You can use these shredded leaves as mulch around your most delicate plants. When you are using leaves as mulch in your garden you are also putting nutrients back into the soil as the leaves decay over winter.
Speaking of mulch, you should add about two or three inches of leaves or mulch around your most prized perennials. If you have just planted a few perennials this fall it is especially important to ‘baby’ these plants a little for their first winter year.
One last item of interest that you should put on your ‘to-do’ list for fall, is to take all of your gardening tools and accessories and clean them well. Make sure all the dirt is off, you oil if needed, and store somewhere dry either in the greenhouse or in your storage shed. This little cleaning of your tools step will make sure that at least once a year you clean off your tools and inspect the tools you have so you are never caught short handed when gardening!
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