If you’ve got green fingers, chances are summer is the season when you spend the most time working in the garden. In a lot of ways it’s the perfect season for gardening: the days are long, the sun is (hopefully) plentiful, and as long as you’re watering them regularly, your lovely plants are finding it easy to thrive.
As autumn approaches, our thoughts tend to turn towards making the inside of our homes cosy for the colder months, which can mean we spend less time on the garden. But there’s actually still lots to be getting on with out there.
If you think about it, you’ve probably just spent all of spring and summer getting your garden looking its best – so it makes sense to spend some time preparing it for autumn and winter to keep it healthy and looking good.
If your garden is your pride and joy and you want it to flourish year round, here are some quick autumn gardening tips that will help to get it in good shape.
Clear out unwanted growth
Autumn is a great time to have a good old clearout in the garden. Whether you’re getting ready to sell your house with a company such as we buy any home, or just tidying up before the madness of Christmas starts, it makes sense to include the garden in your autumn cleanup.
By this time of year, most plants will have finished growing and flowering, but the weather isn’t too uninviting yet. This makes it the ideal time to tackle any unwanted plants that are growing in your garden right now, whether that be weeds or summer bedding that simply won’t survive the colder months.
The other job that’s well worth doing in autumn is removing debris from plants you’d like to keep. Although dead leaves might appear harmless – albeit a little messy to look at – it’s often the case that plant debris can harbour fungi and pests that could be damaging to new growth.
Once you’ve removed dead leaves and old growth, check it for pests and diseases such as mildew. If there aren’t any, then you should be okay composting it, but if it looks a little unhealthy or is infested with bugs, removing it is the best way to make sure your garden stays healthy.
If any of your summer-flowering plants have become too big, autumn is a good time to divide them. As well as giving the plant a new lease of life, it’s a great way to get new plants for free!
Ideal candidates for dividing in autumn include hosta, geranium, crocosmia and euphorbia. For instructions on how to do it, take a look at my free plants post.
Make leaf mould
Leaf mould is a great garden mulch, and it’s really easy to make. It’s also a good way to keep your soil enrichers as natural as possible.
Mulch is basically a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. It helps to conserve moisture, improves the health and fertility of the soil itself, and reduces weed growth in the area.
You can make leaf mould on a large scale if you’ve got lots of leaves, but if you’re tight on space or leaves you can also make it in a bin bag. All you need to do is fill the bag with leaves, add a little water, and make a few holes in the bag so that excess water can drain away. Tie the top of the bag and put the whole thing somewhere out of sight.
It’s worth checking your leaves now and then, and adding a little more water if they look like they’re not rotting down. In time, the crisp autumn leaves will turn into a pile of finely textured mulch that’s ideal for use all around the garden. This will make your borders look neater, but more importantly will provide a more fertile growing medium for your plants.
Tackle a new project
Spring and summer are such busy seasons in the garden, and often all you can manage is to stay on top of the weeding, watering and dead-heading. But the garden has a much slower pace in autumn, making it a great time of year to tackle a new project.
One great autumn garden project is to re-think a border. The way it looked in summer will be fresh in your mind, so you can easily decide what changes to make, and as the plants are entering their dormant phase it’s a good time to move them if you need to.
Another garden project that’s ideal for autumn is creating raised beds. Raised beds help the soil to warm up quicker in colder months, allowing roots to grow deeper, and plants to establish more quickly. Be mindful of where you position your beds though, ideally they need access to direct sunlight for at least a few hours of the day to ensure good growth. And if you’re keen on having a go at growing your own, creating a raised bed now means you’ll be raring to go when spring arrives and it’s seed planting time!
Have you got any autumn gardening tips? What jobs are on your list this season?