The leaves are turning, pumpkin spice is in the air, and everyone is breaking out their scarves and Ugg boots, but how’s your garden doing?
Iowa has already felt that first chill of fall, and the lingering humidity of the summer, but we know that autumn is indeed here. It’s a great time to start planning and preparing your garden for fall, and the upcoming Iowa winter (if only that could hold off for a little while longer).
To help you stay on top of your fall garden plans, we’ve put together a list of 7 things you should do when the cooler temperatures settle in:
Plant Your Spring Bulbs
If you plan on growing a spring organic garden this upcoming year, plant your bulbs including daffodils and tulips now. The ideal time to do this is mid-October before the ground starts to freeze.
You can also plant your garlic and perennial walking onions at this time so they’re ready for spring.
Do you have perennials that have gone dormant?
Trim them back once the leaves and stems have turned yellow or brown. If you still see leafy growth by late October or early November, it’s best to wait until spring to see if it needs to be cut back.
Remove Dead Plant Matter
Dead plants galore?
Pull out the dead vegetables and spent annuals so you can throw them into your compost pile.
Burn Diseased Plants
You don’t want to set your spring garden off on the wrong foot, so remove diseased plants or foliage. Instead of tossing these, it’s best to burn them if they’re non-toxic plants and take them to your landfill.
Composting diseased plants is never a good idea because the disease, such as blight, can come back and easily take over your new garden.
Give Your Soil a Turn
Fall is the perfect time to till your soil so it’s nice and loose before winter arrives. Tilling the soil now will allow you to remove pesky weeds and roots. If you miss some during your tilling, they’ll be exposed to the frost and freezing of winter which usually kills them.
Apply Compost and/or Fertilizer
Want to give your soil some TLC before the cold of winter takes over?
Add some organic compost or fertilizer to it. You can sheet mulch your compost on top of worm castings, which are completely organic and won’t burn your plants come spring.
Prepare Your Labels
While you’re thinking about your spring garden, take the time to prepare your garden labels for the upcoming season. You can use non-toxic biodegradable plant markers to kick things off on the right foot in the spring.
Made of biomass, a material derived from living or recently living organisms, MCG biomarkers are made to lower your carbon footprint and help you stay organized in the garden.
Available in 9, 13, and 24 inches, MCG BioMarkers® are made to last multiple gardening seasons. Simply print out your labels with the information you need or write it out. And if you change your mind about what varieties you’ll be planting in the spring, the labels can be easily removed!