Your Fall Yard & Garden - What To Do After FrostPosted by Alex Jeffers, Contributor | 11.07.2019
Fall is in full swing on the Front Range, and winter is right around the corner! That means it’s officially time for cozy fires, hot drinks, football games, and gathering with friends and family. It also means we’re in for frosty nights and the waning of our lovely summer yards & gardens.
With leaves dropping, flowers drooping, and annual vegetables coming to an end of production, you might be ready to exchange your daily dose of gardening for something else. Before snuggling up for the season, we recommend getting your garden (and yard) cleaned up, healthy, and ready for next Spring by doing a few things first.
Here are Seven Things To Do To Prepare Your Garden For Winter:
Clean Up Your Summer Vegetable Garden
Beat the frost and wet snow by getting your summer veggies cleaned up right now. For the plants that were free of disease, mold, and mildew, simply throw them in your compost bin or pile! As for the sick/infested plants, remove and toss them in the garbage so you don’t risk harm on next year’s garden. It is important to keep these out of your compost, too, because harmful insect eggs and mold/fungus spores can often survive through even the coldest temperatures, as well as the composting process, which means you’ll likely see them again if you put them in with the healthy plants.
Leave Some Plants Be (For the Birds!)
Some plants, such as native perennial flowers, are great to leave in your yard and garden for birds and other pollinators! Check out this article, written by the Audubon Society on the benefits of taking a more laissez-faire approach in parts of your garden. They recommend allowing seeds, leaves, and brush to stay put in your yard or garden, which will provide critical habitat (and food) for overwintering wildlife. Did you know that many native bees take advantage of the dried stems of flowers and other plants to survive the winter? So, instead of clearing everything away this year, sit back, relax, and watch your winter landscape come alive!
Nourish Your Soil Now
Instead of waiting until next Spring to nourish your soil, when the ground can be muddy and cumbersome, take care of this chore early - this Fall. Begin with digging out the roots of garden invaders and removing unwanted plants, especially if they have gone to seed. Consider whether you would like to till your garden or give the no-till method a try. Finally, add soil amendments like compost, bone meal, or a granular/pelletized organic fertilizer in the Fall to give your soil time to activate. It takes time for your soil to become biologically in-sync and active, making this the perfect way to get a head start on next year.
Plant Native Seeds, Trees, and Shrubs
You might think that the cooler temperatures are not suitable for planting, but there are some species that thrive with late fall/winter planting! Plus, you can save money in the fall by replacing your green turf with native flowers (find some of our favorite seeds here), trees, and shrubs. Planting trees in the winter while they’re dormant helps them get better established, so if your ground is workable, you can plant any time during the late fall and winter. Love bird watching at home? Find out what the Audubon Society recommends planting in your yard here and check out the selection at your local JAX Farm & Ranch.
Divide And Plant Bulbs
Beautiful Spring yards & gardens in Northern Colorado seldom go without some type of bulb flower. This time of year is perfect for dividing your current bulbs or planting new ones! We recommend finding large, firm bulbs at your local nursery - our favorites are daffodils, irises, and nodding onion. New to planting these types of flowers? Planting and caring for bulbs is very easy! When planting, soil temperature should be around 55 degrees or cooler, and bulbs should be planted in holes dug out around three times the height of the bulb. To plant, just place the bulb in hole, cover, and enjoy next Spring!
Start A Compost Pile
Composting is as easy as 1-2-3! Simply mix together 1-part ‘energy’ or green yard/kitchen scraps, 2-parts ‘bulk’ or brown leaves, straw, and dirt, and a healthy supply of air and water. It is also important to turn your compost pile and water it every now and then in order to add oxygen and moisture to the decomposition process. Wondering how to best contain your compost? You can have anything from an open pile to a nice turnable bin like this one - it depends on space and your preference! You can also store food scraps in your freezer or on your kitchen countertop with this attractive odor-preventing compost keeper. Short on time? JAX also carries a quality packaged compost at our Farm & Ranch locations.
Clean and Sharpen Tools
The perfect time time clean, oil, and sharpen your gardening and yard tools is after you do your clean up! By doing these things often, or at least seasonally, you can significantly prolong the life of your ?tools?. Make sure to remove any dirt or debris from the tool. You can use water or bleach (if dealing with disease or Poison Ivy) to spray down and clean your tools, but be sure they are completely dry and free of rust afterwards. Use a coarse wire brush to remove rust and debris, then apply oil (vegetable oil works) to a dry rag and wipe down your tools to prevent future rusting. Make sure to store them somewhere where they won’t come into contact with winter moisture, like in your garage or shed. And don’t forget to put away your hoses and turn off your exterior faucets too!
Fall is such a wonderful time in Colorado! We hope these tips help you enjoy a little bit more of the outdoors before the chilly temperatures and big snows hit. Proud of your garden work? Share it with us on social media! Follow JAX Farm & Ranch on Facebook and Instagram and tag us in your garden posts with the tags @jaxfarmandranch, #JAX, and #jaxfarmandranch. Happy gardening!