While we’re all still enjoying the warm summer weather, now is the time to start thinking about those upcoming cooler months and how to prepare your garden. Putting in some work now will pay off in the spring when you have a yard full of beautiful blooming bulbs. Though spring 2021 may feel like an eternity away, with the year we’ve been having, the seven months until then will fly by!
Here’s what to do to get ready for fall, plus a few of our top picks for spring-blooming bulbs.
Fall Gardening Checklist
When the colors of the plants in our yard start to change or fade, it’s like a traffic signal letting us know it’s time to get started on our fall gardens.
Get your equipment ready. Make sure your equipment is ready to go after using it this past season. Clean and disinfect any tools that have dirt built up on them. A strong stream of water should work, and for anything that’s caked on, use a stiff-bristled brush. For cutting tools, remove sap and any other residue from the blades. Make sure to dry the tools and disinfect with alcohol before putting them away for storage. Now is also the time to sharpen any tools and tune up anything that needs fixing so that you have less to worry about when the next gardening season comes around.
Choose your bulbs. Fall-planted bulbs will bloom in spring, some of them coming up before the rest of your garden even begins to wake up and flourish. Select a mix of bulbs, some that flower in early spring like Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’, while others bloom a bit later, like Eremurus ‘Bubble Gum’. Growing bulbs with staggered bloom times means you’ll always have color in your yard.
Layer bulbs in containers. If you plan to grow your bulbs in containers, you may want to consider the “lasagna layering” method. This has you placing different varieties of bulbs at different layers so that the container is always in bloom. Place the latest blooming variety in the bottom layer and the earliest blooming one in the top.
Prep the soil. Add organic matter, like compost and humus, to the soil to make sure plants have all the nutrients and minerals they need. Place an inch or two on top of the beds.
Plant your bulbs. Plant fall bulbs after the first frost but before the soil freezes. This will be from September to October for northern states, from October to November for middle states, and from November to December for southern states. Choose a spot with proper sun requirements for your bulbs. The bulb’s instructions will tell you all of its needs, though if you need any more help, get in touch with us. Bulbs look best when grown in groups, so plant 5 to 10 in a single patch. In general, plant them three times the bulb’s width deep with the pointed end facing up. Water and fertilize the bulbs after planting. If you don’t have any compost around, you can use an organic fertilizer like Espoma Bulb-Tone.
Keep critters away. While some bulbs are critter-resistant, others are not, which means we need to put a bit more thought into keeping scavengers away and keeping our bulbs in the ground. One way to do this is by creating a wire barrier. After planting, place chicken wire down then cover with mulch. You could also place your bulbs in a wire cage then fill it with soil. Growing critter-resistant bulbs, like daffodils and alliums, amongst your other bulbs should help to deter any animals from gnawing on the rest of your plants.
What Bulbs to Plant in Fall 2020
Our full catalogue is available online, but here are some of the fall-planted bulbs we’re most excited about!
- Allium ‘Giganteum’
- Galanthus elwesii
- Helleborus ‘Dark and Handsome’
- Hyacinth ‘General Kohler’
- Iris cristata ‘Eco Bluebird’
- Narcissus ‘Classic Garden’
- Muscari ‘Maxabel’
- Tulipa ‘Double Sugar’
Fall is such a beautiful time of year to spend more time outside. It’s not as hot as the previous summer months, and knowing you’re prepping your yard for a colorful and cheery spring is sure to bring a smile to your face!
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