10/10/23: In the garden this week


In this small corner of one of my shady shrub islands, you see ferns, asters, Heuchera, an oak seedling that I didn’t notice until I cropped this photo, and a columbine that’s turned a lovely shade of lavender. Gorgeous.

While you’re admiring your handiwork in your garden this weekend, you might also consider some autumn chores:

water newly installed perennials and woody plants and vegetables as needed. The recommended amount is 1 inch per week during dry spells, but we received a good soaking this week, so hold off for now.

do not prune woody plants. Trees and shrubs are carrying out leaf abscission, the complicated process of shutting down for winter. (That’s what makes those lovely colors.) This process takes a lot of energy, so plants don’t have energy to spare for making scar tissue. The next pruning window will come when plants reach dormancy in late fall.

— harvest fall crops such as lettuce, spinach, and other salad greens. Harvest winter squashes. Remove spent plants. Do a thorough clean-up of the vegetable garden. Do not compost diseased or pest-infested plants. Spread a layer of compost over the vegetable garden to prepare the soil for next year.

established perennials should need no care. Leave seedheads in place–birds will eat the seeds you don’t collect.

save your autumn leaves for compost. Decide where you will keep them. Consider mulching them into your lawn as fertilizer; this is easy to do with a mulching mower.

consider fall planting. It’s getting to be a bit late to plant perennials, but many woody plants can be planted until the ground freezes.

And get out into the woods this Columbus Day weekend to admire the foliage. The sugar maples and hickories are turning color in many nearby woods. We took this photo in Campgaw Mountain Reservation this week:



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