Fall Garden Ideas – Checklist For Fall Gardening

As Rudyard Kipling once said, “Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.” A lot of gardeners see Fall as a time to start putting their gardens to rest. However, Autumn is the perfect time for assessing, designing, and improving your gardens. Consider your landscaping. Fall is also a great time to perform grounds and tool maintenance. Perform a soil test; sharpen your garden tools; clean your lawnmower for storage; improve soil, and mulch garden beds for next season. Those little efforts now will help your garden thrive come springtime.

Other Fall To-Do items?

– Stop fertilizing, and water plants less as temperatures start to dwindle.

– In general, to cut back or not to cut back certain plants seems to be a matter of region and preference. Ask a local gardening expert what he or she recommends for your plants.

– Meanwhile, dispose of any diseased or infested plant debris to avoid re-entry of the problem in the Spring.

– One last weeding will help to improve the appearance of your garden throughout the remaining months of autumn. Furthermore, each weed that you eliminate now will prevent possibly hundreds of weeds from sprouting in your garden next spring.

– In many areas, strawberries planted now will be able to yield fruit in October and November. Strawberries produce well for about three years. Other than eating them, your next Fall task will be to replace the old plants with new ones in that 3rd year.

– Take cuttings, if desired, to winter indoors.

– Plant trees and shrubs. Keep these well-watered after planting so they can get used to their new environment before colder weather hits.

– Burlap wrap any plants that would benefit before heavy frosts begin.

– Prune any diseased or stressed tree/shrub limbs, shoots now – while the healthy parts of the plant are more easily differentiated.

– Assess which plants and shrubs have done well in your gardens and which have not. Jot notes down for next season’s planning. Take photos of your successes and rough spots. Plan your spring bulb garden now.

– As needed, divide perennials and transplant newly divided bulbs. Try for a mild, overcast day to minimize stress to plants/bulbs.

– Once temps hit 60 degrees, prepare soil beds for and plant Spring-flowering bulbs.

– Cut back flowers that have stopped blooming and/or stop deadheading seed heads early Fall if you want plants to self-sow. Wildflower and ornamental perennial seeds can be harvested and sowed now or within the next couple of months.

– Consider leaving ornamental grasses as-they-are. They make for some lovely landscaping during the bleaker months.

– Rake and clear fallen leaves, fruit, and dried brush.

– Watch for frost warnings; protect/cover plants and vegetables as needed.

– If you have a compost bin or pile, turn it with a pitchfork or garden fork.

– Bring summer houseplants back indoors for the cooler months when nighttime lows drop into the 50’s. Outside, spray all plants gently with water to dislodge any unwanted pests; examine plants carefully before bringing them indoors.

– Once you have watered your last outdoor plant and cleaned your garden tools for the season, drain and coil your garden hoses. Put tools, hoses, and portable sprinkler systems in storage.

– Pick herbs to freeze and/or dry. Be sure to take any unripe tomatoes and cukes inside before frost. You can wrap them with newspaper and leave in a cool, dark place to ripen or use them in creative cooking pursuits.

– Reap the harvest of the vegetables and herbs still in your garden. Preserve, puree, can, or freeze, with a smile.

Now that your “chores” are done and the weather is cooler, walk around your yard. Look at the photos of your landscape. Assess what has worked well, what you might like to see. You might want to plan a gazebo, a koi pond, some additional flower beds, or a water garden for next season. Outdoor lighting, retaining walls, patios, decking, and other structures can also be considered on your Fall gardening checklist.

Indoor Gardening – Fake Plants Don’t Count

Setting fake trees or plants around the house and dusting them every so often is not indoor gardening. There are people that don’t have any success with indoor plants and still others that believe plants are for the outdoors. But there are plenty of plants and herbs that do quite well indoors and plants help clean the air by eliminating carbon dioxide from the home just as they do outside plus they also add a very decorative touch to your home.

If you are considering indoor gardening for the first time, you will want to choose plants that are strong and do especially well indoors. The gardeners at your local plant nursery can be very helpful with advice and resources to help you be successful.

If you will be working on indoor gardening during the winter there are some extra measures you will need to take to keep your garden growing well. You will want to keep your plants or garden away from any heat source and protect them from drafts. During the winter it is likely your plants will go somewhat dormant, but do not worry they will still have new growth.

Take care not to overwater your plants and make sure they have good drainage. The water used to water your plants should be about room temperature, try not to expose your indoor garden plants to extreme exposures to anything.

Since indoor plants won’t get the sunlight they do outdoors, lighting is essential. If you can’t give your plants natural light you could use artificial lighting that’s available in a variety of stores. If your plant is grown to a good size when you buy it or bring it inside, it will take an adjustment period for it to get used to the new lighting. Rotating your plants a quarter turn every week should keep all sides growing at about the same rate.

Herb gardens make an excellent choice for indoor gardening, you can eat them and they look nice. Herb gardens will mature pretty quickly and provide fresh herbs for months. Because they do so well inside, you can start your indoor gardening with herbs any time of year. The key ingredients to having a robust herb garden or indoor garden of any kind really, are good soil, good lighting and warmth.

Indoor gardening is not all that difficult; in fact, it is pretty much the same as outdoor. There are even some advantages to indoor gardening. For example, you won’t have to worry as much about bugs and insects bothering your plants. You also won’t have to worry about wind or frost so even if you want to get your plants off to a healthy start or extend their growing past the first frost, indoor gardening offers an easy way to control your plants environment.

Using containers for your plants makes it possible to grow them indoors or bring outside plants indoors for the winter. There are many garden plants that will do well planted in a container and brought indoors. You may not have the space to have more than one or two of your favorite vegetables inside but one tomato plant can produce quite a few tomatoes.

Tips for Container Gardening With the Elderly and Disabled

Container gardening has become the primary go-to method of gardening for many people, especially for people who have different physical capabilities than most. Gardening in containers is extremely adaptable and can be executed in a way that makes the entire larger experience of a garden ready and waiting for everyone – even if they’re in a wheel chair, aren’t as strong as they used to be, or have other physical limitations that make traditional gardening impossible. Not only activity in the garden needs to be considered, but ease of access for basic enjoyment needs to also be a consideration – for those residents and disabled that may not enjoy working in a garden but enjoy and benefit from spending time in the garden otherwise. Container gardening makes most physical limitations a non-issue, and opens up this ageless hobby to green thumbs and brown thumbs alike.

Container garden planning needs to include functionality, so that it works for everyone involved. At the same time, the space needs to be beautiful and well designed as a cohesive landscape. Adhering to basic garden design and creating raised and accessible beds is a good technique- and is easy to do.

An accessible garden can still be much like a regular garden. Design an accessible garden with curving pathways, borders that have taller plants in back and shorter ones in front, with areas that serve purposes like a play area, a relaxing area, an area for storage, and an area for viewing. Think about adding a focal area with a fountain or water feature that’s safe to have around the residents that will enjoy it (sometimes ponds can be appropriate; sometimes a simple water fountain may be better). Along pathways and in borders, include raised bed areas for residents to use. You can create a space with a theme, or use plants that are suited well for your area (xeriscaping for example).

Pathways need to be wide and flat, without cracks and little in the way of ledges and obtrusive edging. Gate stairs, and try to avoid steep slopes if at all possible. Pathways need to have edges into soil that aren’t sudden drop offs, and edges that aren’t too soft is also recommended so that chair and walker wheels don’t get stuck, and so that feet don’t roll on the edge and send someone falling into the garden.

You can also design an area for container gardens that are on a balcony or patio, and it can be much simpler. Take into consideration watering the containers, as someone will have to haul water to balcony containers. The patio or balcony must have good drainage off of it, as watering containers is a messy and wet process. The patio must also be easily swept and kept clean, as containers can also shed and be messy. Place containers in view of windows if appropriate.

Place raised beds and containers in areas that receive full sun exposure, as most vegetable crops and common bedding plant selections require full sun. If a specific plant is requested that requires shade, make special considerations for those. But always default to the easiest method of growing and meet the most common requirement by placing beds and containers in full sun.

When building custom raised beds and containers, think about how people will be able to navigate around them and work with plants in them if they’re in wheelchairs or using walkers. Containers need to be placed in an area that can allow full access to the entire container from at least the front and sides. Beds need to not be too large and expansive so that residents don’t get exhausted and overwhelmed in them. Remember, containers and raised beds must be a joy for those who aren’t physically robust to use, not a chore. Starting too large can be more like work and drudgery, and not an exuberant day outside working in the garden and enjoying the time.

It’s good practice to use an already formulated and ready to use soil mix. These mixes come usually free of harmful organisms that can make residents sick. They are also usually sold in easily portable amounts that make adding soil to raised beds easier. And, it’s usually sold dry so it’s not heavy. A good, high quality mix will also grow plants well.

Fertilizer is a matter of preference. Plan on following the dosing instructions used on product bags, and don’t be shy with it. Plants grown in containers need a lot of food, especially plants that produce edible harvests like tomatoes and lettuces.

Pest control is not such an easy matter as soil preparation and fertilization choices. It’s not a good idea to bring in pesticides, even organically approved ones such as pyrethrum, into a place where people have weak immune systems and sensitivities that healthy people don’t have to worry about. Plan on using hands to remove bugs as you see them, or remove affected leaves and stems manually. Make a gentle insecticidal soap for killing indoor bugs such as spider mites, aphids, and many other common indoor pets. Insecticidal soap can also work outdoors very effectively. Sometimes a sick plant may simply need to be tossed and not trifled with.

Choosing what plants to grow is a simple and fun process. Most often, giving residents a box for them to work with and letting them choose what they want to grow in them is a splendid idea. Greenwood Nursery breaks plants down into potential uses such as best choices for container growing. Families may even bring in plants and packets of seed for their loved ones to grow. Encourage residents to choose plant selections that have been bred for growing in containers. Dwarf tomatoes, corn, and many small and compact veggies exist today, with the onset popularity of container gardening. Compact and beautiful versions of old fashioned garden favorites are common in flowers too, like small hydrangeas.

When the raised beds and containers finished, plant them and enjoy them! During the warm season, plan activities, gatherings, and meetings outside among the plants and outdoors. Watch wildlife visit more and more. Encourage families to use the garden spaces with their loved ones when they visit.

Enjoy the success and the happier place you’ll make with container gardens and raised bed gardening!