CHICKADEE ON SNOW COVERED BRANCH | PHOTO BY PETER LEWIS ON UNSPLASH
October is probably the most popular month—in Southern Ontario—for putting your garden to rest. There is still some lingering warmth in the air making it a very enjoyable temperature for more labour-intensive work like raking leaves. If you haven’t already added a good layer of Triple-Mix or compost and bark mulch to your garden beds this year, I highly recommend it—once a year is the minimum for maintaining healthy soil. Applying the soil and mulch at this time of the year allows the nutrients to filter into the ground throughout the winter, arriving right where they are needed, close to the root system, come spring.
Watering your garden throughout the fall is very important. Many people stop watering as soon as the summer heat lets up but a long dry spell at this time of year could easily compromise the health of your plants, and even kill them. Water starved roots are likely to be less tolerant of the winter cold, and subsequently will be less tolerant to drought the following summer. Consider applying a general feed of a slow release fertilizer like bone-meal to encourage good root growth.
Most trees and shrubs will benefit from a trim in the fall, especially yews, but be careful; some plants develop buds for the next years flowers at this time of the year. It is very wise to investigate each individual plant in your garden before making any adjustments, and better still to record their individual needs in a chart so you have the information readily available.
If you live in the city, toss out your container grown annuals in a compost bag (not the green bin) and put curbside. Make sure your bags are not too heavy or the garbage collectors won’t be able to pick them up. Empty clay pots and bring them indoors otherwise they will most likely shatter over the winter due to the freezing and thawing of water in the clay.
And your last Groovy Gardening tip for the year… refrain from making your garden too tidy. Some people like to cut back and dispose of all the dying perennial and annual stalks so as to make the soil look nice and clean. This is counter-productive and not in your garden’s best interest. The dead plants provide beneficial nutrients for your soil over the winter, and once the snow falls you’ll be surprised how pretty it can look.
Check in with us once a month between March and October for tips on how to care for your garden.
At Design for Conscious Living® we specialize in interior and exterior design. Don’t wait until spring to inquire about a landscape design for your property, especially if it’s a large project. Connect with us in early to mid-fall and we may be able to offer you a discount if we are looking for work to fill the quieter months of December and January.