Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn't mean that it's time to give up on gardening just yet.
Now is the time to start growing cool weather crops – flowers and food – and preparing your yard and garden for winter.
Preparation for winter is key to cutting back on unnecessary work and for having a successful garden and beautiful yard in the spring.
Here are some tips for getting your end of the summer growth under control, and what to plant, when and where.
1. Clean and weed
Even before all the leaves have fallen, begin raking them up and readying them for either your compost or for mulch. Pile up dead plants from the garden, ones that may be exhausted from bearing fruits or veggies and any flowers or bushes that need cut back. Make sure to separate and get rid of anything that might seem diseased and any weeds you don't want popping up from the compost you use next year on your garden.
2. Plant for the present
Once the heat has given up, it's perfect weather to begin planting your fall flowers. Pansies work great in cooler weather and will bloom even until colder months, like December. You can also begin planting cool weather vegetables, like greens.
3. Plant for the future
It's also the right time to begin planting your bulbs and seeds for spring. Bulbs are best when they've "hibernated" throughout the weather, with at least one good freeze to get them into dormant stage.
Fall also boasts perfect conditions for sowing hardier annuals, like cosmos, poppies and larkspur. More often than not, seeds sown in fall and conditioned by a winter freeze will be ready to burst through in the springtime.
4. Plant trees and shrubs
Fall is the time to plant ornamental shrubs and trees, without the worry of summer's heat. If planted in the early fall, they'll have time to establish a good root system before winter's freezing temps arrive.
Mulching is the best way to protect your soil and your perennials during the cold weather. Straw or mulched leaves are both good options – you'll most likely already have the leaves. Cover newly planted bulbs or seeds and build up mulch around tree trunks and shrubs to help protect from freezing weather.
Twinkle VanWinkle ponders, creates and discovers cool stuff about music, movies, food, fashion and so forth. Her thoughtful writings and interactives give great advice about healthy food, cooking tips, DIY projects, fashion and more. She'll teach you a thing or two about music as well. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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