Home & Garden

15 gardening jobs for fall

Photography by Ryan Brook Image by: Photography by Ryan Brook Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

15 gardening jobs for fall

Fall's warm days, cool nights and frequent rainfall make conditions perfect for planting trees, shrubs and most perennials. It's also a good time to improve your soil.

So before hanging up your gardening gear for the winter, try these tried-and-true tips to ensure next spring's garden is vibrant, lush and healthy.

Flowers, trees and shrubs
1. Remove dead or dying annuals. Cut back soft-foliage perennials such as bleeding hearts and place in compost. Dispose of diseased leaves and stems.
2. Amend soil by tilling in a three- to six-inch layer of manure, triple mix or loam. Edge flowerbeds.
3. Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses.
4. Prepare trees and flowering shrubs for winter by pruning diseased or damaged stems and weak branches that could snap under heavy snow. Winter-wrap pyramidal evergreens with twine. Spray broad-leaved evergreens such as rhododendrons with an antitranspirant (such as Wilt Pruf) to protect against winter burn, and surround with a burlap screen.
5. Make notes about your garden -- likes and dislikes, successes and failures – to use as a guide when planning next year's garden.

Vegetables
6. Harvest root crops, including carrots, onions and beets. Before frost, harvest unripened green tomatoes and ripen indoors.
7. Clean up and dispose of dead, decaying or diseased vegetable crops.
8. Improve soil by tilling in manure, triple mix or loam.
9. Sow green manure (that is, winter wheat) to be tilled in during early spring months to reduce erosion and improve soil nutrients.
10. Note successes and failures, what was used and what was wasted, to guide you when planting next season's crops.

Lawn
11. Rake and remove fallen leaves. Compost or place clean leaves in garden beds as a natural mulch and soil amendment, to be tilled in the following spring.
12. Aerate with a garden fork or rented aerator to improve the flow of moisture and nutrients.
13. Top dress with a light layer of good-quality topsoil and reseed with grass seed suited for your light requirements.
14. Use fertilizer such as CIL's Golf Green Fall Lawn Fertilizer 12-3-18.
15. Give your lawn a final cut before the risk of snow, to a height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches.

Top 5 birdseeds
1. Black oil sunflower seed: Preferred by the widest range of birds, black oil sunflower seeds offer more nutrients than any other type of seed and have a higher ratio of nutmeat to shell.

2. Niger (nyger): Sometimes called thistle seed, it's preferred by smaller birds such as goldfinches, siskins and redpolls.

3. Peanuts: If you love to see blue jays and cardinals, these are a great choice. Word of warning: Peanuts are also enjoyed by squirrels and chipmunks.

4. Non-germinating mixes: Sometimes called "garden friendly," these seed mixes are preshelled, minimizing the chance that they'll germinate in your garden and making them easier for birds to eat.

5. Cracked corn
: An inexpensive bird food for those seeking to attract blackbirds, finches and sparrows.

For more to keep your home looking great, have a look at our simple ways to enhance your curb appeal. And if you love catching birds in your garden, check out where to find them in Canada's national parks.

This story was originally titled "Tuck in your beds" in the November 2011 issue.

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15 gardening jobs for fall

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