Note from Jim: It’s that time of year again where the days get shorter, and colder. This week I’ve pulled together some general tips and ideas for how to keep your garden in the best possible shape at this time of year, heading towards winter. Hope you find this helpful, let me know in the comments below.
It’s the end of summer. As the leaves change color and the grass grows slower, you can feel nature preparing for the long winter ahead.
Autumn is a time of preparation. Each plant and each blade of grass on your property is storing nutrients and energy so it can survive the winter and blossom in all its majesty come spring. Why not help our green and growing friends along this fall with these helpful outdoor maintenance tips?
Mulching every autumn is important for your plants. Mulching helps retain soil moisture and prevent erosion while improving overall soil quality. If you want to make your own mulch, fall is the best time to do it. Rake up your fallen leaves before they get wet and sticky and chop them up into smaller bits. You’ll need about three inches deep of mulch to sprinkle around your shrubs and flower beds.
Mow Your Lawn
You’ll need to continually mow your lawn, even in autumn, to keep it vibrant and healthy. The recommended autumn height for lawns is three inches. This height helps lock moisture inside every blade of grass. Leave a third of your clippings on the lawn to act as a natural, organic fertilizer.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Don’t forget to feed your grass and other plants every autumn because this is in fact the most important yearly feeding they will get for a couple of reasons.
First of all, your lawn needs to recover from any damage it may have sustained from the summer sun. Secondly, it needs to prepare for the winter by storing up nutrients, just like a bear going into hibernation. Feeding your lawn in Autumn will take care of both.
Because plants – and that includes weeds – are busy absorbing energy and nutrients in the fall, apply an organic weed killer that the weeds will also absorb and you’ll guarantee they won’t return next spring.
You have many natural weed killers on the market to choose from or you can make one yourself. If you buy an organic weed killer, the main ingredients to look for are citrus or corn gluten. Because these types of weed killers cost a bit more than traditional chemical herbicides, you may want to make your own natural weed killer.
To mix your own organic weed killer, dilute vinegar in water if your lawn is sensitive; but for tougher, sturdier lawns, you can use the vinegar by itself. Apply the solution directly to the weeds. You may have to use more than one application to completely kill the weeds.
Be sure you are planting native, Australian perennials that provide shelter and food sources for native wildlife, such as bees and birds. In the autumn, leave these perennials alone and wait until spring to cut them back and promote new growth. This technique will help the critters who help our lawns, our gardens, and the world’s food supply to flourish.
It’s important to remember that although things seem to slow down in autumn, our lawns and gardens are as busy as ever and they need your continued, loving care to stay healthy and vibrant.
So You Want A Better Garden?
All my best articles have been collected into what I’m calling the ultimate gardening toolkit – make sure you take a look, there’s a heap of great gardening advice available.
I’ve also published a series of gardening ebooks that you might be interested in. Good luck!