Fall Gardening Tips

Gardening is a great way to meet your neighbors. Not only is it a conversation starter but you get to create something beautiful that the whole neighborhood will enjoy.

Fall is the perfect time to do a thorough weeding and I do mean thorough – take no prisoners! Get out there and dig. It will make a difference in the spring when you are ready to plan and plant again. After the weeding comes the addition of top-soil or mulch. Mulch helps keep the weeds down during the fall and early spring as well as protects plants from freezing temperatures in the winter.

September is also a time to enjoy the last blooms of your dahlias and any fruit to be harvested. If you don’t have a fruit tree, consider looking around to see if you can find some room for one or two in the spring! There are lots of options that don’t require a large garden space. There are dwarf varieties or perhaps an espalier that you can prune to a variety of shapes or even more space conscious is the columnar apple. My favorite columnar is the Scarlet Sentinel. It produces lots of very tasty fruit, great for baking or to eat straight from the tree. Both of these varieties are visible in my garden at the corner of Lynn St. and Minor Ave.

Clean-up is the operative word in the fall. Rake debris around roses and cut back ornamental grasses. When you cut back your lavender you can make a sachet or use the seeds for cooking. Roasted potatoes with a little lavender and thyme is delicious. Both lavender and thyme are very easy to grow and drought tolerant. After your clean up, you can reward yourself with a little planting that you will enjoy through the next few months.

Chrysanthemums, kale, beets or even carrots are good to plant now.
For those of you with no garden, welcoming pots at your front door is an option. This time of the year, pots are generally on sale and almost anything can be planted in them. Think about an evergreen that could be decorated with white lights for the winter or seasonal annuals with herbs planted around the base. There are endless options for a porch or balcony garden so don’t be afraid to go rogue.

Getting inspiration is always motivating. I like to make a seasonal pilgrimage to our great local nurseries – City Peoples, Sky Nursery, Swanson’s, Ravenna Gardens or Wells Medina. They are filled with inspiration and a great way to view the featured foliage of the season and spend an hour on a sun-filled day. Who knows, you might run into one of the people you have met while gardening.

Written by Mary Hansen

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