Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Cleanup



Lawn and Garden Preparations for Winter


Fall cleanup for me is directly connected to the weather.  So taking advantage of the sixty degree days has left me with no excuses.  So yesterday, I started the lawn cleanup.


The Little Leaf Linden still has tons of leaves to drop, but the Sycamore, American Planetree  in the back has very large, heavy leaves.  I raked all the perennial beds, pulling the leaves into the grass. I pay particular attention to the Hosta beds because overwintering slugs will lay eggs at or near the crown of each plant.  I have had damage from slugs as early as April when I neglected this part of the cleanup.


The mower mulched the dry leaves well, leaving only ground up organic matter to give the soil a long lasting source of nutrition.
 I last fertilized the lawn in October with a liquid organic spray.  With that feeding and now the mulched leaves, the grass will survive the stress of winter, and grow thick and lush in the spring.

If your grass is still growing, continue to mow.  The over winter length should be about an inch shorter than you mowed in the summer, or approximately 2".


As the rest of the trees drop their 'gift', I will again use the mower to aid in the cleanup.  However, I will use the bag attachment to gather the mulched leaves and grass clipping.  These I will sprinkle over the perennial beds.  This organic material will decompose (nearly) by spring, and will enhance the soils microorganisms and create loose soil that is alive and well. 

This next part of my fall cleanup may sound like I'm a lazy gardener. (Isn't that an oxymoron?)  When in fact I justify leaving the garden pretty much intact as 'that's the way Mother Nature gardens!'  The winter interest
is marvelous and extends the garden another season.

The final fall cleanup chore that is literally calling me out today, is removing the plant stems and food debris from the vegetable garden.  This will go into the compost pile.  Leaving tomatoes or other foods on the ground over winter will encourage diseases and draw animals.  With the vegetable garden cleared, I will have another spot to spread the bagged mulched leaves. 


So, fall cleanup for me is almost complete.  The lawn is fed, the hosta garden is clear, and the coneflowers, globe thistle, and black-eye susans will greet me throughout the dreary days to come, and I will smile.
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