Summer might be coming to a close, but that doesn't mean a gardener's job is over. There is lots to do in the fall time to prepare for the next year's harvest. Preparing garden soil and planting spring bulbs are two primary projects this year on the homestead. Both tasks take time to plan, which means taking a long afternoon to jot down ideas. Ideas you will want to consider: what kind of garden you'd like to have (vegetable, flower or both), what bulbs you'd like to plant, and where you'd like your garden and flowers to be located.
*note: more experienced gardeners are still growing crops throughout the Fall and Winter. We still have pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots and onions growing.
Soil is the foundation of your garden. See what I did there? First, you must plan out next year's garden. This might take a bit of time. If you are starting from scratch, this is the time to observe what areas of your space have full sun, partial shade, or full shade. Our backyard is pretty much all full sun as it has unobstructed southern exposure, perfect for plants such as tomatoes, squash, strawberries and most cutting flowers. Next, you'll need to decide on what kind of garden beds you want to have. We have a mixture of raised beds, ground level beds and pots. Arrange your garden exactly how you'll want it for next year.
Now, it’s time to clean out the beds and pots of the crops that are no longer in season. If you have chickens like us, this is the time to pull out those cucumber roots and give your hens a treat. Remove all plants and roots from the garden beds. Gently till the soil to expose any insects who plan to overwinter, this will help reduce pest troubles in the spring and summer. Once most of the garden soil is exposed, add a layer of compost, manure or leaves and gently till the soil.
If you don’t have feathered friends to help you get rid of your old plants, this is a good opportunity for you to start creating your own compost! We chose a spot over on the edge of our property, under and old tree for composting. We throw just about everything over there. Some great options for a good compost include: kitchen scraps, horse manure (just ask a local farmer), grass clippings, wood ash and straw. Compost is something that you can keep adding to and turning for every season. To learn about creating the perfect compost for your garden, click HERE.
Fall is the time to plant flower bulbs for a Spring bloom. Good news! You still have plenty of time to plant bulbs this fall. Bulb planting goes through about mid-October, depending on your zone.
Click HERE to find what zone you're located in.
Bulbs available to plant this fall:
It’s important to follow the directions when planting, as each flower is unique. Different flowers need to be planted at different depths. This is also where layering your garden can come into play! For instance, daffodil bulbs need to be planted approximately 6 inches deep. After you’ve placed the daffodil bulb in the ground, cover it up and place a tulip bulb in the same hole, about 4 inches deep.
To learn more about creating a layered garden, check out this great read!
As a gardener, September is also a time for reflection. It’s important to reflect on your garden, thinking about the kind of harvest you had, and learning where you can make changes for a better harvest next year. It being our first year of truly gardening, I feel as though I have A LOT to learn!
My gardening projects for next year include adding more raised beds, building our current beds to be deeper for better root space, and adding a potting table to the backyard. The project list seems to get longer and longer every season, but seeing the potential of the gardener and her garden is most exciting!
Successful gardening takes place long before the planting/sowing season. You must plan out according to each fruit, vegetable or flower’s needs and prepare the soil. This takes time, forethought and planning! If you’re like me and organization isn’t always your strong suit, get a calendar, write your plans on specific dates, and hang it up where it can be seen and checked daily. If made a priority, you can accomplish all of your fall garden preparation tasks in good time.
Happy planting, friends.
-The Happy Egg