Fall has come, time to unsheathe your weapons to have an astounding garden come spring.
A brand new vegetable patch
In fall, upgrade the soil of your vegetable patch! As you harvest your last vegetables, throw old plants and leaves out to the compost, checking first that they aren’t diseased.
After that, eliminate weeds manually or with natural weed-fighters and avoid having them grow back with mulch. Break the ground up somewhat with a toothed spade and add organic matter such as compost or dead leaves. What counts here is to ensure the soil is covered, so that nutrients don’t get washed away with rains. Cover also reduces weed growth.
Preparing flowers for spring
Also remember to weed flower beds and run the hoe along your plants to destroy insects that might have found refuge in the topsoil, such as slugs.
Before the first winter frosts set on, bring your garden boxes and containers inside or protect them, especially when they fear the cold. Pelargoniums and summer flowering bulbs can be stored in the cellar. Mediterranean or tropical plants (bougainvillea, oleander, olive trees, citrus, cactus, etc.) must overwinter in a space that doesn’t freeze but still gets light.
Power-up your shrubs
In fall, you can reinforce the coping of your trees and shrubs as they weather the harshest whims of the upcoming winter. For that, recover dead leaves and toss them in the compost. Destroy diseased leaves and fruits to contain possible contamination in the following season.
Make the best of fall and remove dead or sick branches. But don’t follow through with pruning all your trees and shrubs in fall, that would be counter-productive since wounded stems are more vulnerable to the cold and to freezing.
However, it’s the perfect time to prepare new plantations !
Conifers and heath shrubs are planted now. Don’t forget the traditional saying that goes “in November, any tree sprouts roots”. Plant your trees that you can buy bare-rooted in a wide hole in which you’ll have planted a stake. Root dip the clump, cover with soil, water to avoid air pockets and mulch. The graft joint must be about an inch (a couple centimeters) higher than the soil level.
Rose trees and shrubs planted in fall, as well as certain fruit trees, will benefit from having been planted in that season and will grow stronger. Remember to add natural fertilizer and compost.