We’re heading into a quieter part of the year for the garden but before you hang up your gardening gloves, there are some essential tasks you should perform so your garden can bounce back quickly in spring.
Clean up dying/dead plants and leaves
It may be tempting to leave dead or dying plants and leaves where they are and clean them up when the weather gets warmer but if you don’t clear them away then you’ll attract pests. Snails and slugs will move in, and other insects like aphids will hibernate in organic debris. If you remove the dead material, you’ll leave these pests exposed to predators like birds and prevent them from taking up residence.
The perfect time to weed is when it has just stopped raining. Damp soil makes it easier to pull these invasive plants out by the roots, which is absolutely essential if you want to stop them from growing back.
Once this has been done, spread a dense mulch made up of leaves, newspapers, and the dead plants you pulled out, over the areas where the weeds were. This is an effective way to discourage weeds from sprouting without using weed killers filled with toxic chemicals.
Prepare your soil
If you want a healthy garden in spring, you’ll need to prepare your soil now. Organic materials commonly found in compost heaps will help enrich the nutrients so new plants will thrive in spring.
Start collecting teabags (removing the staples, of course), coffee grinds, egg shells, banana peels, chicken and fish bones — and pick up a bag of sheep’s manure. Dig furrows in your garden beds and bury the mix of organic materials in there and cover with dirt again. When you turn the soil in spring, you’ll have a great base to grow things.
Clean and sharpen tools
Though any good gardener knows it’s important to keep tools clean and well-oiled throughout the year, it’s a task that can commonly fall by the wayside. Autumn is a great time to give your rake, spade, secateurs and any other outdoor equipment some love.
Begin by washing your tools to remove dirt and debris. Remove rust by soaking the affected tools in a bucket filled with white vinegar and leave for two days. Then, scrape the rust off with a stiff metal brush and wash the item in soapy water. When you’ve performed this on all your gardening tools, place them in a warm dry spot in your shed or garage.
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