Fall Is Here, What Should You Be Doing in Your Garden?

With the temps dropping and the days getting shorter, fall is most definitely in the air! There are so many great autumnal things to do in Wisconsin, from fall color drives to apple orchard visits, it is an amazing time of year.  It is also a great time to work in your garden – especially this year! Gardening is a great social distancing activity!  Let us review some of the best projects you can be doing this fall in your own garden.

  1. Fall is for planting!  With cooler temps and end-of-season sales at your local garden center, fall is a great time to plant.  Trees, Shrubs and Perennials can all get a jump on next Spring by getting planted this Fall.  The number one trick to successful fall planting is to water well after planting, and throughout the remainder of the season, finishing with a significant watering right before the ground freezes for the winter.  That moisture helps keep the temperature around the root ball more consistent throughout the Midwest winter.
  2. Mulching.  By mulching in the fall, you help insulate the ground and keep the moisture more consistent all winter long.  Plus, that is one less thing you need to worry about next Spring!  If your beds are already mulched, a light 1-2” topdressing will be plenty.
  3. Plant Fall bulbs.  Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinth and other fall bulbs need to be planted now so that you can enjoy them next spring.  Each variety has different planting instructions, so make sure to follow instructions on the label.  Keep in mind that these flowers bloom in early spring and are best planted around other plants that will fill in once the bulbs are finished.
  4. Feed your soil.  Your soil health is what determines plant performance.  Feeding in the fall helps them over-winter better and gives plants a boost next spring.  Adding compost is the best way to build up your soil health.  Compost is full of microbes that live in your soil and help your plants optimize the nutrients available to them.
  5. Clean up your gardens.  While there are many items in your garden that you can leave for winter interest, there are some areas to clean up in the fall.  Start with your veggie gardens, removing the all the old debris will help prevent any diseases from returning the following year.  Next, if you had any perennials, trees or shrubs with disease issues this year, make sure to remove the plant debris and/or leaves off site to help prevent them from returning next year.

Get out and enjoy the outdoors this fall in your garden.  Putting in the effort this fall will set you up for a successful spring garden.  Your plants will thank you for it! 

Ben Polzin is the VP of retail operations at Down to Earth Garden Center, a member of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. Blog articles are submitted by members of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. For more information, please call 715-835-2526 or email info@cvhomebuilders.com.

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