Indomitable spirit is a prerequisite for gardening in Minnesota. Wintery resurgences in spring send us running for all manner of cold weather gear to protect infant plants from perishing. Thunderstorms wipe out hours of labor, upending plants for the apparent amusement of it all. Sweaty July and sweatier August find us fending off so many hungry insects and mammals, we feel we’ve earned a black belt in “something,” right? By the time autumn rolls around, gardening feels like a chore.
Take heed, dirt warriors! Fall is not the time to stop thinking about your garden! Here are four tidbits from Mother Earth Gardens on re-engaging your gardens again this autumn.
SIP & SEE
Some fall morning while your brain is still fuzzy around the edges, pour yourself a cozy cup of coffee or tea and shuffle out to your garden. Seldom do our routines leave room for the sole purpose of reflecting, so indulge in a slow meander. Is it time to divide? Should I leave fallow a bed next year? Have I provided well for the pollinators? Could my practices be more sustainable? Does my space still pique interest? Where did I stumble? Where did I thrive?
Now, don’t go thinking all your good pondering merits jumping immediately into action. Forget the physical work for now. A little forethought makes fall gardening less stressful and subsequent seasons more organized. For new gardeners, a bit of outside perspective helps. Schedule a 1-2 hour garden coaching session with one of Mother Earth Gardens’ gardeners to assist with pondering the whats and whens of your space.
Though it’s tempting to sit back and let the season drone by, put on your gardening gloves for a few final rounds. Maintenance is best done in small, concerted efforts. Wait too long and those weeds that once were only a few adorable inches are now a throng of prickly behemoths that need medieval armor to tackle. Get to them before they set seed to nip future outbreaks.
If the year’s worries are fungal, clean up and dispose of any spore-harboring foliage that could pass problems on to the coming year. Bagging infected foliage to sear in the hot sun can burn off still-viable spores.
Manure is a verb. Fall is a great time to manure. It’s a nice source of nitrogen and, applied in fall, becomes readily available to young plants early the following spring. Already cow manure-d? Manure with goat or poultry to diversify your soil biota.
Many gardeners have experienced a time when beds became so unruly, finding calm in the garden takes a back seat to finding ground to stand on. If a helping hand could give some peace of mind, give Mother Earth Gardens a holler and they'll rein in your space so you can hop back in the saddle.
By the time fall emerges, the effort of tossing Mums on the front stoop may feel blasé. Summer’s abundance of flowers and energy is depleted, and winter is just around the corner anyway, right?
In support of planting one more round:
A plethora of cool-tolerant perennials, like Heuchera, Sedum, Aster, and Goldenrod, enrich an otherwise standard autumn container. An added bonus? These can be planted in the ground before frost, saving a bit of cash.
Container gardening is an art-hobby well worth exploring, but it takes many rounds of testing, observing, failing, and thriving to find your container skills.
We have many a long month of dreary gray ahead. Let's opt to make the world just a bit brighter, for just a bit longer.
Want to make pretty, but don’t want to labor? Mother Earth Garden does fall pots.
If in September you’ve forsaken all gardening in favor of letting nature be nature (no judgement), consider babying your existing indoor greenery, or adding a houseplant or two... or forty. Start with repotting anyone who needs a new home. September is opportune to allow plants to root well in longer daylight before hauling them indoors. Doing so outside cuts down on making a mess of your kitchen counters.
Feeling courageous? Give unique or harder-to-grow plants a go. The strappy foliage of Orchid Cacti (Epiphyllum sp.) grows in attractive shapes. Lipstick Plants (Aeschynanthus sp.) offer variety in leaf pattern, color, and texture. Air Plants (Tillandsia sp.) mystify, hanging from nothing near a window.
New to houseplants? Just unsure? Treat yourself to an in-home consultation and Mother Earth Gardens will help you select new plants and pots.
We promise, green thoughts in fall mean happy hibernating in winter.