This time of year it's easy to pull out the remaining veggies, cut back your perennial flowers, clean out containers, clap your hands and say, “That's it, I'm done!”
But wait. There are some other fall chores to do to make life a lot easier come spring.
When cleaning up the veggie and annual flower garden I use an old technique that's back in fashion.
On those plants that were not pest infested, instead of pulling out the whole broccoli, pepper, eggplant, zinnia, or other large plants, I just cut them to the ground instead. Leaving the roots to slowly decay in the soil creates water and air channels for next year's plants.
Now is also a good time to chop down annual weeds, such as galinsoga and pigweed, so they don't drop more seed in the soil. Also, pull out perennial weeds, such as dandelions, plantain, and quack grass so they don't get a head start on you next spring.
Finally, if you're planting a new garden with perennial flowers, shrubs, or trees, don't use landscape fabric. Recent research has shown that air and water don't penetrate the fabric well, stressing plants. The fabrics last longer when the sun is blocked from them.
But laying organic or inorganic mulches on top provides a perfect place for weeds to germinate and weave their roots into the fabric.
Also, perennial weeds, such as horsetail, will eventually find their way through the fabric either in the holes you cut or just by traveling around the fabric. It's best to use a thick layer of wood chips or bark mulch instead.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about overwintering herbs. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.