Autumn season in the garden

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

It’s time to pack away the flip-flops and bring out the boots, scarves and gloves. Temperatures will soon be dropping, meaning gardens and outdoor areas will need to be adapted to the new conditions. Preparing a garden in advance of the season changing will give certain aspects such as plants and shrubbery time to settle into their adjusted environment as well as offer gardeners peace of mind when the cold creeps in.

Cleaning up leaves

With increased wind speeds and colder temperatures, outdoor spaces will soon be covered in leaves and debris from trees. While you may be tempted to sweep them up or even blow them away with a power-blower the thing to do it, at least wherever possible, to leave them be. Better for the wildlife and the garden itself too. Where you do wish to remove them sweep them up, put them into bin liners and in no time you will have great leaf mold to add to your garden beds.

Get ahead of the weeds

In the summer, seeds will have landed in and around outdoor areas and they will eventually develop into weeds and you may well be tempted to apply weed killer to the garden to keep on top of the initial growth. However, weed killer – more often than not glyphosate – is not a sustainable and ecological way to go and even so-called “safe” alternatives, such as the use of vinegar and such like are not as safe as promoted.

To be perfectly honest the best and greenest way to manage weeds in your garden is doing it the old-fashioned way, that is to say manually. Even the often recommended green way of using vinegar is not a green way.

Keep an eye out for damaged hedges and trees

Prior to wind speeds picking up, checking any branches, trees and hedges could be vital for people’s safety in the garden. If any appear damaged or are starting to rot, they can potentially blow off and cause damage to a property or even harm a person.

Should a tree be on the boundary of your property where, especially, the public might pass by, then ensuring that there are no branches that could, potentially, cause a problem to passersby is extremely important because, theoretically, any branch falling and possibly injuring someone could leave you open to litigation. If you can prove that you have taken all possible precautions to avoid such you might just about be in the clear in case something does happen.

In addition to that clear the beds – especially the vegetable ones – of plant remains and prepared the soil for the winter and the next growing season by adding leaf mold and compost, spreading a layer of about two inches at least. Do not dig or fork this in but leave the worms to do their business by carrying the nutrients down into the soil while at the same time aerating and loosening the soil. Come spring just sow or plant into the beds without further ado.

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