Fall Gardening Duties
Fall Gardening Duties

Although it may not feel like it during the heat of August, fall is just around the corner. The cooler days of autumn are a perfect time to get outside and enjoy gardening before winter. Here are a few fall garden reminders:

- Fall is a great time to plant your pansies. Planting pansies in the fall will give you more “bang for your buck” by brightening up beds and containers both in the fall and again in the spring. A light mulching with pine needles will protect your pansies from snow and frost.

- By the end of summer many annual containers have become over grown and bloomed out. Rejuvenate your containers by planting fall blooming and other seasonal annuals. Argyranthemums, osteospermums, and pansies provide color and will continue to bloom through the cool days of fall. Ivies and ornamental cabbages are great ways to create interest in fall containers.

- Fall is the perfect time for enhancing your landscaping and beds by planting trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. By fall, most plants have finished with flowering and/or fruiting, so they can now concentrate on root growth, which is promoted by the moderate soil temperatures of the season.

- Don’t forget the vegetable garden! Savor the last tastes of summer by harvesting any remaining vegetables. Unripe tomatoes will ripen after picking if put in a brown paper bag and kept at room temperature. Early autumn is also a great time to start cool weather crops like collards, kale, brussel sprouts and winter squash. Don’t be tempted to harvest your fall vegetable garden to early, though. A light frost actually improves the taste of many leafy greens!

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- Feed the birds. Don't forget your feathered friends -- their food supply grows scarce in fall.

-In the late fall, divide and cut back perennials. Try rearranging plants if they haven't been working in their current location.

- Rake and mulch your beds. If left unattended, fallen leaves will suffocate your lawn and beds. Shred them and they make great mulch.

- Empty hoses, fountains, and drip-irrigation systems. Ensure any standing water is removed from your watering equipment and store items in a dry place. If you live in a cold climate, where freezing temperatures are common, make sure that you take care of any containers that run the risk of freezing and cracking.