Buttoning up your Murphy, NC garden during the fall is like cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner. On Turkey Day, you just feasted on a tasty 20-pounder with all the fixin’s – and now you must clear the table before scraping and washing the dishes. And when fall catches up with your garden, stop growing your vegetables or flowers, and begin that less-enjoyable cleanup operation.
Pick Your Passion: Vegetables or Flowers
When your garden’s harvest came in, you enjoyed a huge bounty of vegetables from early summer until fall. When you exhausted your recipes, you canned or froze every ripe vegetable that crossed your path.
Or, maybe flower gardening is your passion. You carefully prepared your beds, planted seeds and transplants, and watered them daily throughout our bone-dry drought. You weeded often, and you managed to drive off the deer so your plants would have a fighting chance. Finally, your garden exploded with a riot of colors that made all that hard work worthwhile.
Now that the growing season’s over, though, it’s time to round up those wilting plants and restore some order to your vegetable plot or flower beds. After all, you want to get a head start on next season’s garden.
Wrap Up Your Summer Garden
First, encourage your current garden to keep on giving. If you grew some tasty heirloom vegetables, for example, save and store a good assortment of seeds for the next planting season. Try the same strategy with your colorful annual flowers. Either way, store the seeds in paper envelopes, and stash them in a glass jar in a dry spot indoors.
Next, tidy up the garden by picking up fallen vegetables that could rot on the ground. Dispose of dead annuals, and cut back perennials that have finished blooming for the season. By reducing the amount of debris on the ground, pests will be less likely to choose your garden for their winter hibernation spot.
Put Those Millions of Leaves to Work
Of course, living in the woods means you have an endless supply of leaves, a highly beneficial ingredient of your household compost pile. Rake (or blow) a respectable quantity of leaves, and add them to the pile’s green kitchen scraps. Believe it or not, mixing both types of materials helps to generate compost more quickly. Don’t throw in plants with disease or bug problems, and avoid composting dairy or meat products, as they’re a magnet for rodents.
If your property includes an expanse of lawn, give the grass one final mowing for the season. Gather the grass clippings and shredded leaves, and spread them over your flower beds to provide protection during the upcoming cold weather.
Plant Vegetable Seeds or Cover Crops
If you’re an avid vegetable gardener, fall is a great time to plant spinach, lettuce, and other cool-season vegetable seeds. If temperatures will dip below freezing, cover your plants with protective straw. Root crops such as rutabagas and carrots will also benefit from a nice straw blanket. Fall is also perfect for planting garlic and shallot bulbs.
If your garden didn’t materialize this year, get a jump on next season by planting a fast-growing cover crop. Evenly sow clover, rye, or similar seeds into bare soil. When spring arrives, turn the cover crop plants into the soil, adding essential nutrients your vegetables will love.
Spice Up Your Flower Beds
Plant colorful cool-season flowers such as mums and pansies, and add some ornamental kale for extra greenery. Chances are, these hardy plants will even survive most frosts.
Choose an enticing assortment of spring-blooming bulbs, designed to bring your Murphy, NC garden alive after months of cold weather. Hyacinth, crocus, daffodil, and tulip bulbs are popular choices. Plant your bulbs per the grower’s directions, button them up for winter, and get ready to enjoy a rainbow of color when you need it most.
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team