Garden Transition to Fall and Preparing for Next Spring
The summer heat has taken its toll on the garden, and now that Labor Day is past, it is time to transition the garden to fall. I am transitioning my front bed from mostly annual flowers and veggies, over to more perennials with just a small space for a few tomatoes.
Plants that have past their prime need to be removed. Particularly for vegetables, if the plant has given what it can, it is time to remove it to make way for something fresh and new.
This tomato will be the last one of the year. It is a lovely yellow one, and at this point will not get any bigger. So, pick the tomato and pull up the plant.
Clean up the area, moving the mulch aside. Gather some bulbs of your favorite flower and dig down about double the height of the bulbs. Plant the flower bulbs in a group for next spring. These are hyacinths. In other areas of the flower bed, put gladiolas or daffodils. September is a great time for bulb planting, but in the southern areas, you can do this until well into November and still have pretty spring blooms.
New mulch is laid down to neaten things up and tamp down fall season weeds.
Now a space that was full of spent vegetable plants looks nice with fall mums in a deep red color. These will grow larger next year too, or they can be removed in the spring to grow veggies again. They will provide greenery behind the bulbs. Next year, after the bulbs have bloomed, they can be moved to allow space for more tomatoes.
While mulching, be sure to uncover your iris rhizomes. If they accidentally get covered up with either dirt of mulch, they will not flower next year.
If you have some space between your irises, plant some crocus bulbs.
Nestling these between the rhizomes will give you some pretty early color in the spring before the irises wake up.
In the spring, the little flowers give a lovely color to the bed. But you have to plant them now. For the best results, plant at the level recommended by the package, and put some bone meal in the hole before setting the bulb.
Hyacinth bulbs planted in the fall will yield lovely, fragrant blooms next spring. If you planted bulbs last year and enjoyed the spring flowers, now is the time to add some fertilizer so the bulb has one more feeding before going dormant for the winter. Happy planting!!
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