Garden Transition to Fall and Preparing for Next Spring

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1 Day

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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Carole | From My Carolina Home

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Cathy Berghammer
    on Oct 2, 2018

    Good info here 🌷 A problem I am having is that my yard and gardens are becoming infested with wild violets, which have rhizomes. I can't seem to get rid of them. Weed killers appear to work, but then the rhizomes survive and there they are again. Any suggestions?

    • Mary
      on Oct 6, 2018

      I like the answers above BUT if you've been using weed killer ie Round-up DO NOT EAT the flowers or rizome. Your ground will be contaminated for years. To kill rizome and not contaminate your ground, use a garden vinegar and inject it into the rizome with a syringe.

  • Teri
    on Oct 6, 2018

    I live in an area where the ground is frozen solid at least 3 months of the year. It is now starting to get cold enough I fear it is going to be a very cold winter. Are any of these bulbs you mentioned safe to winter in frozen ground?

    • Loanne
      on Oct 7, 2018

      I'm in zone 5A. Bulbs of hyacinth, tulips, daffodils, crocus, and more are made to be in frozen ground. One of the perks of leaving in the north is that we can actually have these plants bloom, as they won't in the gulf states. The rule here is to plant after two hard frosts. Hope this helps.

  • Joyce
    on Oct 7, 2018

    Can I substitute egg shells for bone meal?

    • The main reason for the bone meal is for the phosphorus which aids in flower formation. Egg shells have great calcium, but I am not sure they would have enough phosphorus. You might want to do some internet research to see, as I just don't know the phosphorus content of eggshells.

Join the conversation

3 of 20 comments
  • Mary
    on Sep 28, 2018

    Lovely. Great time to receive this information. Can't wait to uncover my rhizomes.

  • Barbara Lee
    on Oct 2, 2018

    I will. I'd never thought of over-or-under planting for color beforehand

    Guess I thought the green popping through the mulch was pretty enough . I am struggling with the fungus problems. As a camellia grower, I'm coping with squatting with a sprayer to get under leaves &putting more of the sprayer contents on my body than the underleaves!

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