Preparing Your Plants for Autumn
When the summer heat is still blazing and the sky is still sunny, it can be hard to convince yourself that autumn is coming. Sadly, though, it is. As the summer months start to dwindle, it’s time for you to start preparing your plants for the cool weather of autumn.
Here are some of the most important things you need to get done.
What to do with Herbs
Herbs in pots can be brought inside to prevent them from being harmed by the cooler weather of autumn, but if you’ve planted them in the ground that’s obviously not an option. To provide you with herbs over the winter, you can collect leaves and such while the plant is still thriving in the summer heat and dry them for use all fall and winter.
The best way to dry herbs is to tie them in bunches and hang them upside down. Bonus, drying herbs can add a flair of decor to your kitchen!
“An alternative to hanging herbs to dry in bunches is to spread the herbs out on window screens. Suspend the screens over sawhorses or the backs of chairs. Turn the leaves often to ensure even drying.” - NC State
Make Way for Autumn-Loving Plants
Not all plants are going to die as soon as autumn comes. In fact, with some strategic planting, you can have a vibrant garden in autumn as well as the summer, but this means making room to do so. Trim and cut back (but don’t remove) the plants that are spent by the end of the summer and make room for the autumn plants to have the spotlight.
“Harvest the seeds of any healthy crops or flowers that have gone to seed. Then chop and drop the plant matter directly onto the bed as mulch. Rather than pull them out, cut them back, and their decaying roots will feed the soil.” - Tenth Acre Farm
Plant New Trees and Shrubs
If you’re hoping for some new trees or shrubs in your garden next year do NOT wait until the spring. In spring, the ground is far too wet for new trees to take hold and establish strong roots. Planting your trees and shrub at the end of the summer gives them time to establish themselves while the ground is still warm and dry from months of summer heat.
“Trees and shrubs should be planted in the fall, from the end of August to mid-October and sometimes even later — depending on the weather each year. This will give them time to establish their root system in the still-warm soil.” - Dirt Cheap
Plant Spring Flowering Bulbs
The ideal time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is at the end of summer or very beginning of autumn. These bulbs need enough time to establish their roots before the ground freezes, but not enough time that they’ll begin to sprout.
“Sending up leaves will deplete some of the energy stored in the bulb, which it needs to get it through the winter.” - The Spruce
When the weather starts to dip, it’s time to plant your bulbs!
No one wants to say goodbye to the summer, but you need to prepare your plants for autumn even if you are in denial of the colder months coming. Consistent preparation in all seasons is what’s needed to keep having healthy plants and gardens every single year.
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