The cooler temperatures are always a welcomed time here. We relish the thought of our yard work slowing down and going into hibernation (for a while at least!). Fall brings us the chance to take some time off from all of our outdoor projects and think about what we have left on our to-do list inside the home.
But before you all hang your shovels in the shed, take time to think ahead for what you want to do in our gardens in the spring. Gardening has once again become in vogue. Tilling the earthy, growing your own vegetables, and canning and freezing for your family are something that many first-timers are trying out. We are passionate about gardening, but spring time will bring plenty of time for veggie talk. Fall gives us a quick opportunity to think ahead for what we may want to do the next year in our garden.
If you are a first time gardener, fall is the time to prepare the area you want to house your garden. It is important to ready the ground in the fall and till it enough so it can settle and be prepared for spring plantings. As someone who loves a traditional English approach to garden design, I have decided to relocate my garden and have started the preparations for spring.
A Fresh Start
Moving a garden and starting fresh has some great benefits. Many diseases and fungi (such as tomato blight) live in the ground. After years of gardening in the same spot, it will be harder to suppress the problems your plants may suffer from. Moving the garden will give you a great why to start anew. Also, when you plan a new space for your garden, you are able to take an evaluation of things you didn’t like about your old space.
In my own garden, I was tired of the large traditional square design that many gardeners default to. So I decided to create a grid with large walkways in between.
Expert Tip: Make sure to make the walkways wide enough for a mower.
This grid design with wide walkways will allow me to have easier access to everything I plant and keep my entire garden more organized. In addition, it will allow for greater visibility into the growth state and health of my plants.
Procure the Correct Tools
I rented a sod cutter so I could start my new garden with clean lines. (My sod cutter rental was an affordable $60 for the day.) A sod cutter allows deep cuts into the soil that will prevent grass from growing in the garden. This will ensure that the edges of the garden keep their clean lines.
Expert Tip: Save the leftover sod from your tilling and use it in other places in your yard where needed.
Prep the Soil
After cutting the sod, the only task left for this fall is to turn the dirt. Some soil may need nutrients and it may be good to add those nutrients after tilling the dirt. Personally, I will not be adding anything special to this garden, but will make sure to put compost from the kitchen and some manure on the garden in the spring. It is very important to turn your dirt in the fall and let it sit for the winter; it needs this time to further decompose.
It may be tempting to want to finish all of your yard work in the fall and not think about it again until the spring. But taking the time to plan ahead and prepare early will help you be ready by the time the snow melts next year! As a good friend always reminds me, whether you garden on a small scale in pots on your patio or have rows and rows of veggies, always remember the all-important five P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!