In the first week of October, I must have gotten 5 e-newsletters in my inbox telling me what I must or mustn’t do in the garden right now. It was enough to want to make me run fleeing into my cozy den with a book and to never come out again!
Really, is all this necessary? There are some things you must do in the fall to ensure a healthy garden in the spring, like cleaning up diseases and perennial weeds.
And there are other things you may want to do in the fall–like planting spring-flowering bulbs–to ensure a more beautiful garden in the spring.
And there are those things that it is optimal to do in the fall like re-seeding or over-seeding the lawn if you maintain one.
Other than that–nada, nothing, nyet (and that’s about the extent of my fancy foreign words).
After some basic garden sanitation–removing diseases from the vegetable garden in the form of plant matter and diseased leaves, and removing any and all diseased leaves from where ever they occur in the rest of the garden, that’s about it.
You will surely make your life easier if you remove perennial weeds now–and any annual weeds that are going to seed. But is it mandatory–no. You’ll just be weeding more next year and perhaps in succeeding years.
Planting bulbs is lovely and I have done so in many, many fall seasons. But over the last few years, I have developed arthritis in my hands, and working in my heavy clay soil in cool weather is hard for me. So I no longer do it. No point in making life unpleasant.
And as for the lawn, thankfully that is the Spoiler’s job. I advise, and he ignores. It’s a lovely partnership.
With respect to fall planting, I don’t–again, my heavy wet clay soil is no good for that, even before the arthritis.
As for cutting perennials down, I will cut down those that are yellowing, if I have time, if they are unsightly, if the weather doesn’t stop me from doing it–you get the idea.
And of course I’ve already hauled in all the houseplants.
I just have to take in anything that might freeze–ceramic bird baths and statuary and things like that. Although I must say, as I get older, fewer and fewer of those things even make it out of the garage in the spring.
This is known as “gardening smarter, not harder.”
After all, in the spring, when we’re all sick to death of winter and our homes and we’re read all the stuff we want to read, there will be plenty of time to clean up what we left behind in the garden!