Friday, September 30, 2016

The Benefits of Fall Gardening

"The fall is the most important time of year in any garden," says Charlie Briggs, gardener at the Royal Botanical Garden (RBG).

 It can seem counter-intuitive, the fall being a beneficial season for gardening. We tend to focus on spring, with the sense of everything starting up. But in the fall, plants are getting ready to go dormant, "so you're not interrupting anything," Charlie says.

Charlie explains that the cool temperatures and additional moisture allows plants to get a head start on the following season.

On a fall day, you can put in hardy plants, perennial woody types and native plants like black-eyed Susans, echinacea, milkweed etc.

It's also the best possible time to divide and transplant seeds.
Collecting seeds from the garden is easy, sowing outside, literally letting mother nature do the work.

"Look for pods or seeds that have turned brown or yellow, and wait until the seed can drop on its own," says Charlie. "Leave some for the birds though."

 Be sure to make labels for the areas in garden or a map.

Charlie points to other advantages of fall gardening: with less vegetation, you can fill empty spaces in the garden and also, more space allows true form to emerge as you plan and plant.

Remember that native plants are needed for pollinators that overwinter so leave those stalks for the winter for these little critters to hibernate within. Leave the plants as they are,  all winter long and you can cut in the spring and leave on the ground, providing extra weeks for the insects to emerge.

Read more about fall gardening on our previous post.

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