Autumn Months Bring the Harvest!
With the hot summer days comes a slight tendency to desire her to come to an end. Fall brings such a welcome relief to Indiana gardeners. It is the most glorious season for Hoosiers, what with the fall color and fun autumn weekends with tailgates and bonfires. If autumn were a family member, she would most certainly be your mom. She is beautiful, full of activity, brings a wonderful harvest to the family dinner table and swift to teach us to prepare for the future seasons to come!
Autumn rains and chilly nights bring on a quick shift in the amount of time left to complete our many outdoor tasks before the hustle of the holiday season begins. This is the time to pack it up, folks! Putting the garden to ‘bed’ for a long winter’s nap is important to her health and important to the abundance of success for the following spring growing season.
Remove any plant foliage that has gone to seed and died back, if left in the garden it will create disease and fungus. No one likes fungus among us! Mulch over any tender perennials so that the winter’s freezing and thawing won’t make the root balls of the plants heave up close to the surface, which then allows them to freeze and die.
One of my favorite tasks is planting an abundance of spring flowering bulbs, do you know why? Because I constantly forget what I have planted and where, then when spring comes it is a wonderful surprise.
Croms, however, I make sure I lift and sort out the old from the new croms, let them dry a bit and store them in a box of sawdust indoors, away from varmints. This allows the flowers, like your gladioli and begonias, to stay healthy for the spring planting season to come.
Now, a quick word on chemicals, not all are terrible and some are utterly necessary if you want to grow flowers, like roses. But find organic types if you can. And please note that using last year’s chemicals only creates a stronger infestation, due to the fact that a weakened, older chemical is easier to survive as a beetle and strengthens the insect’s resolve, manifesting in a resistant strain of insect that can beat the system.
Water features, ponds and fountains need to be cleaned out of autumn falling leaves, drained and covered. I keep our pond running with a heater for the winter, it is always so beautiful when the ground is covered in snow. I use nice hunter green tarps with elastic cords to cover our fountains for the winter, this way it is not too unsightly.
Cuttings from the plants you love are a wonderful way to keep the garden growing indoors during the long winter months. I bring indoors some tender annuals and make cutting of my Coleus, Salvia and Hydrangeas. I place the cutting in a terra cotta pot and place in a sunny window. Keeping everything well watered. You will have new garden family members in no time.
Enjoy these glorious months ahead, get outdoors and get busy. Wash windows to let in the abundant sunshine and fill your family harvest table with delicious meals of soups and stews. Keep visiting the farmer’s markets as they come to a close and mostly give thanks. Be proud to be a Hoosier, because we truly live in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Just all a part of helping you all, “Grow a More Beautiful Life!”
Fall Garden Check List
- Compost your annuals
- Plant a multitude of spring flowering bulbs
- Save seeds from flower heads, dry on newspaper and store airtight
- Journal the year’s successes, failures and needed changes
- Keep up with leaf removal
- Fall application of lawn weed and feed
- Empty gardening containers, disinfect well and store
- Cut dried Hydrangeas and bring indoors for fall arrangements
- Service outdoor equipment
- Sharpen, oil and store gardening tools
- Add good compost to the garden beds & turn under
- Wash windows to let as much sunshine in for winter months
- Drain hoses and turn off spigots to prevent freeze
- Make any outdoor repairs now
- Roast some marshmallows