The end of the gardening season is the perfect time to reflect and improve upon your landscaping efforts for the new year; and no matter what you grow and how you grow it, there are always ways to enhance your yard.
Take, for instance, your soil. Fall is the best time to build and adjust the nutrients in your soil because it will allow enough time for the necessary chemical processes you want to occur before the next growing season. It may sound daunting to change the balance of your soil, but it really isn’t. Soil pH runs from acidic (zero) to alkaline (fourteen), with neutral (7) being your goal. Test your soil with a pH kit from your local garden center. If it is too acidic, add limestone. If it has too much alkaline, add granular sulfur. Then just work it into the top of the soil.
Heard of spring cleaning? Fall is also a great time to clean. Remove dead plants, dried vines, stems and roots, so that you don’t create bedding for insects or breed disease. Make a compost pile with the plant debris and dispose of the weed debris. Work last year’s compost into your soil to improve drainage. If you don’t have compost, grass clippings will also work. Then cover it all with a nice, thick layer of mulch for protection and aesthetics.
And always do your research. Make notes about ways you’d like to improve your garden for next year. For instance, if your growing season was over too quickly, consider spreading out your planting or planting items that bloom at different times. Did your garden get enough sun or shade? If not, you may want to move it or adjust what you plant. Do you need to address any pest, disease or insect issues?
Then, do those things your grandma told you to do, like pay attention to yearly forecasts and plant accordingly, and cover your plants if there is impending frost.