Monday, 3 September 2012

Harvesting and Fall Garden Chores

Stuff To Do over the next few weeks... I love fall! Such a sense of accomplishment as one tidies, rakes, tops, mulches, harvests ...  and the gorgeous autumnal colours of gold, rust, red and orange.

For those of you with weed and seed free leaves falling on your lawn and gardens  ... pile them up, run them over with a lawn mower a few times to break them up, and add them to your garden beds for a nutritious boost of lovely organic material!
However, Do Not do this with really weedy trees that have tons of seeds, or you will spend all of next year pulling out tree seedlings!

Grass clippings, if you do not add fertiliser, can also be added to the beds. Spread it out in a light layer, which allows it to dry and brown off, and then incorporate into your soil.. or alternately, leave on top of your soil, keep adding more clippings, and you have a lovely mulch.
Do not place pile the clippings too thickly, or they will matte down into a mouldy mess.

Brown dry grass and leaves are fab to add to your compost, as well... they add the 'brown' material component.

Deep water your trees and shrubs..
Use either a weeping hose, which waters many trees and shrubs at once, leave in one place for about an hour.
Or use a regular hose, at a low trickle, placed at the base of each tree or shrub, for 15 to 20 minutes each. Do not have it on too strong a trickle or it will run off and be wasted, instead of penetrating deeply around the root ball.

This perennial planting looks great year round!
Sedum, Nandina, Heuchera, Pyracantha and grasses.
Throw in some pansies or violas for fab colour spring and fall. 

Herb Bed
- Cut back and dry or freeze your herbs for fresh flavour all winter long... thyme, parsley, oregano, dill, basil. Save dried or mince and make into herbal butters, herbal olive oil cubes, pesto logs.... Yum!
- This is a good time to do divisions and share with your friends.

I finally got that herb bed cleaned up... though the Oregano is still flowering, there were less bees finally, so I did not feel so guilty about cutting it down.

Three kinds of Sage and three kinds of Oregano dominate my herb bed... One is called Hot and Spicy Oregano.. and does it ever live up to it's name! Sadly, the Lemon Thyme was choked out by all that Oregano :(

Chives, Edible Dianthus, Marjoram, alpine strawberries, plus annual herbs such as Dill, help to fill it in. Cilantro and Dill love the cooler weather so this is a great time time to transplant them into the herb bed.

In The Potager
- Harvest veggies ... cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, corn, squashes, potaoes
We have eaten a lot of our veggies fresh this year and shared with friends, neighbours, and the food bank. However, we made several batches of crock pickles, yum, fresh sliced cukes in a brine, that get better each day they stay in the brine, yet are delish after just one day! Tomatoes and peppers have been made into salsas, both hot and mild, plus picked some tomatoes early so that we could process a batch of Chow Chow ( green tomato relish). 
- Ripping out the old strawberry mother plants. The runners have nicely rooted into their little pots so they will replace the old and less productive mother plants. Planting the new bed up this fall.
- Nasturtiums, Glads, Roses, Marigolds, Penstemons, and Zinnias are flowering nicely :) Stop deadheading roses now and allow them to form hips, this tells them that it is time to shut down and prepare for winter.
- Plant more spinach? some leaf lettuces? Maybe mache?
- Plant garlic after mid-September
- Doing soil tests to see what I should be adding to the beds this fall for happy beds next spring.
- Hubby picking up fish compost and manure to top-dress the beds for fall. Meaning, I put about 2 inches of organic matter on top of the soil in the raised beds and let the earth worms and rains carry the nutrients into the soil.

The herb bed in spring
Add tons of bulbs into the potager each fall... for gorgeous colour in spring

General Garden Clean Up
- If you want lovely tulips and daffodil displays next spring, buy them now and plant them before the end of the month
- divide overgrown perennials, share with neighbours or re-plant.
- sow your bi-ennial seeds! and allow your self seeding annuals to sow themselves... ( Love-In-A Mist, Sweet William,
- Dig up dahlias, callas, and glads ... (some leave them in the ground and this is perfectly fine.  I lift most of mine as I like to pot them up in spring for earlier blooms in summer, but leave a few in so that they bloom a bit later, for a longer bloom time)
- Time to compost those spent, tired and draggy looking annuals
- Collect all your stakes, obelisks, poles and cages, wash and store again till next year. This also includes any statuary that you do not leave out year round, such as fountains, birdbaths, gnomes .... flamingos? ;)

Plant lots of bulbs for stunning spring colour! 

Fun For Fall
- Plant lots of spring bulbs for a great spring display
- Layer bulbs in pots and planters for a long blooming and lovely spring blooms
- Do up some fab fall planters with golds, rusts, reds... with grasses, mums, ornamental kale and cabbages, and lots of pansies and violas! The grasses and pansies will look awesome in spring amid the tulips and daffs, also.
- Add shrubs or small trees, etc... as centre points to add fab colour, like Nandina, or Pyracantha with it's glorious berries!
- The is the perfect time to plant new trees, shrubs, roses, and to divide as well as plant new perennials!

Do up some fabulous fall planters to add a huge pop of colour!

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