Fall weather in Texas might cause you to roll your eyes. We don’t generally see much of a fall season in our great state. However, the weather patterns are changing and winter is still on the way. Preparing your garden for fall is important because it helps to maintain the plants that live through the season, gets the soil ready for the upcoming colder weather, and is preemptive in ensuring a healthy spring garden. It’s a continuous cycle, and you need to constantly be planning for upcoming seasons for a beautiful, healthy garden. Here are some tips for preparing your garden for fall:
Check it out: Take the time to smell the roses. You’ll want to check your garden and note any over grown plants, bald spots in the soil, and plants that might be struggling to survive. Move summer herbs indoors to keep them healthy, and place them in a corner that still soaks in the sunlight. Remove bulbs that didn’t cut it this summer. Cut back tree branches that are getting too long or too close to your home. Once you know what you’re working with in the garden, preparations can begin.
Fertilize all over: Plants grow in the spring and summer months, using the nutrients from the soil. Replenish the soil, and be sure not to miss the bald patches and spots where bulbs were removed. Organic fertilizers will work better for enriching the soil than chemical fertilizers. Note that compost, manure and mulch are all organic, and their nutrients are slowly released into the soil. This slow release is beneficial, because when you add the new soil in the fall, your spring garden will be much more lush. Another benefit of doing this chore during the fall is the softness of the ground. It’s much easier to replenish soil in the fall, rather than in the late winter or early spring, when the ground has been frozen and is harder to till.
Pamper your lawn: Weeds thrive during the summer months. In fact, they throw their seeds during those hot months, hoping to spread themselves throughout the following seasons. Twice a year, you should be applying a weed killer to your lawn to protect it. Fall is one of those times. When spring arrives, you’ll notice far fewer weeds in your lawn as it begins to grow and become more lush again.
Planting Vegetables: We have an advantage here in Texas – while most states plant vegetables in the spring and harvest them in the spring and summer, Texans can maintain a vegetable garden throughout the fall. Keep in mind that transplants will thrive more than seeds. This is especially true with peppers and tomatoes. When you transplant during the late summer and early fall, be sure to hydrate the plants vigorously. The roots need to grow before becoming ready for planting, and when they are constricted in cell packs and peat pots, they need extra water daily to be ready to support themselves in the ground and grow.
Preparing flower beds: Your flower garden is preparing for a little seasonal nap, so that it can jump up in the spring and show off its beautiful blooms again. Remove all debris and dead plants that are littering the area. Search for weeds and pull them out. Those pesky weeds will steal the nutrient from the soil, leaving your flowers sad and sulky. Aerate the soil and loosen it up with a small hand shovel. You’ll want to allow plenty of air to get down into the soil to help keep the flowers and plants healthy during their hibernation. If your perennials are getting a little too crowded, clear a few out to leave room for the others to breathe and grow, and replace those spots with fresh bulbs.
There are several varieties of flowers that you can transplant now, to enjoy throughout the fall and winter. These include Mums, Marigolds, Hollyhocks, and Petunias. You can also plant tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in seed or bulb form in the fall, and they will peak out in the spring.
Take good care of your garden, and understand how the seasonal cycles influence your tasks each time the weather begins to change. Fall is the best time to prepare and maintain your garden, so that your spring and summer garden will be bright, vibrant and ready to impress!