Essential Fall Gardening Tips
For Maryland Gardens
If you’ve researched fall gardening tips in Columbia, MD, you may have learned that tending to your garden doesn’t stop after the final harvest. If you’re new to gardening, it might be understandable if you think your gardening duties end after the last harvest of the season.
But the truth is, if you want to enjoy a bountiful garden next year, you still have work to do in the late summer – even before light frosts show on the ground.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to prepare your garden for winter, so it can be ready to go when the spring thaw comes. Here are six fall gardening tips you’ll want to add to your fall gardening checklist before the frost date or the snow starts falling.
Fall Gardening Tips In Columbia, MD
Check out these tips for essential fall gardening tips in Maryland. Learn about the best plants for fall gardening and about preparing your garden for winter with this fall gardening checklist.
1: Clear Away The Organic Matter, Harvest Root Vegetable Plants
When you notice your plants starting to wilt, it’s time to get them out of the ground. If the healthy plants do not show signs of disease, they are considered organic matter and can be tossed into your compost pile.
But if the plants are diseased or show signs of leaf mold, you’ll want to keep them out of the compost bin because the pests and disease will spread to next year’s plants. Throw the diseased plants in the trash or burn them.
You should also take advantage of the last growing days of fall and harvest any root vegetables that are still ripe, such as carrots, beets, turnips, etc. Make sure to store them in a cool place so they can keep throughout the winter months.
If you used stakes and supports to prop up the plants in your vegetable garden, remove them from the ground, clean them up, and store them away for winter. If you don’t remove them, they can pose an injury risk should they be covered over by snow during the winter months.
2: Till The Soil
When your area begins to move into cooler weather, give the soil a gentle till before the ground gets too hard. This not only helps aerate it, but it also helps expose any insects that might be planning to overwinter in your garden.
If you battle Japanese beetles yearly, this is one of the best ways to reduce their population because grubs live and overwinter in garden soil. It also helps to blend organic matter into the ground, which will serve as fertilizer for your plants.
After tilling the soil, add a layer of compost, aged manure, and leaves and circulate the material into the earth to help build up nutrients for next spring.
If you need to add lime to your soil to raise its pH, then this is also a great time to do that. This will help next year’s plants to grow quickly for more robust fall crops.
3: Plant Cover Crops
If you don’t get a lot of snow in your area, planting cover crops in the fall will help improve the quality of your soil.
Some cover crops include winter rye, red clover, hairy vetch, oats, and buckwheat.
These and other cover crops can help attract beneficial insects and improve the nutrients in the soil.
If part or all of your garden has gone to weeds, cover the overgrown areas with a layer of black plastic sheeting or cardboard and leave the covering in place for the entire winter season.
This is an effective way to kill the existing weeds and subdue sprouting seeds. Mulching your garden beds will help prevent weeds from growing and protect your soil from drying out once winter sets in. You can use straw, shredded leaves, pine needles, or other organic material for mulching.
4: Plant Spring Bulbs
The beginning of autumn may not seem like the optimal time to plant anything, but if you love flower beds, there’s no better time.
A great fall gardening idea is to select some of the best plants for spring gardening, like tulips, daffodils, and crocus. These bulbs won’t sprout until next spring, but if you plant them now, they should bloom in abundance come springtime.
When fall planting spring bulbs, cover them with a few inches of soil and add a light layer of mulch.
5: Prune Trees And Shrubs
Before the cold weather hits, give your trees and shrubs a once-over. Prune them back to remove any dead or diseased limbs, and trim them so the branches don’t interfere with power lines or your roof.
If you have a problem with parasites, worms, or vermin, it’s best to take care of them before the cold weather sets in.
Pruning is an essential step in caring for your fruit trees. It helps promote air circulation, strengthens the tree’s structure, and can even help increase fruit production.
Begin pruning your fruit trees by removing any dead or diseased branches first. Then, start to thin out the canopy by removing branches that are competing with each other for sunlight and water.
This can help open up the tree’s center to ensure air can circulate more easily.
6: Clean And Store Your Tools
At the end of the season, make sure your tools are clean and sharpened. Sharpen the blades on your shovels, hoes, spades, and other gardening tools so that they will be ready for action next year.
Garden hoses should be drained and placed in a secure location throughout the colder months.
Don’t forget to check over all your garden tools before storing them away for winter. Clean them off and oil any moving parts to ensure they run smoothly next year.
If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are typical, store your tools in a dry, climate-controlled space.
Other Things To Consider
There are more things to consider when getting your garden ready for the winter.
Perennial plants should be trimmed back to remove excess foliage and stems. Annuals should be pulled from the soil and discarded.
Make sure to spread any leftover mulch or compost around the garden beds and pathways to help insulate the soil during cold weather.
It is also an excellent time to start thinking of your feathered and furry friends before the cooler weather sets in. For winter birds, food sources may be hard to come by if you live in an area where the ground may be covered in snow and ice for months.
Offering food and water during this time is a great way to attract wildlife to your garden. For water, you might invest in a heated bird bath or update your existing water source with an aerator to keep the water from freezing over.
Call Thompson Creek Window Company
To Prepare Your Home For Fall
Once you have prepared your Columbia, MD garden for the upcoming autumn season, you may need to prepare your home as well. Maybe you’d like to add garden windows.
If your home needs repairs or replacement of gutters, windows, doors, roofing, or siding, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call for your free consultation.