To Miskovsky, one of the most important aspects of preparing now for the spring season is to be in-tune with your own garden, yet this is often easier said than done. Timing is everything when it comes to gardening. Prune too early, the plant dies; don’t clear leaves in the fall, you end up with a fungus-filled yard in the spring.
“The value of having a regular maintenance program is getting things done in a systematic order,” says Gary Murphy, owner of Coy’s Brook Landscaping of Yarmouth Port, “aerations in the fall, using the right amount of fertilization, and putting down lime, which many forget to do.”
Experienced landscapers know exactly when to plant, where to plant and how to plant. If you are already feeling stressed, find the right professional to take the gardening stress off your hands and maybe even teach you a little something along the way.
Speaking of timing, when late fall finally makes its debut around Halloween, it’s time to lay your composted soil. This soil can be purchased from local nurseries in the area, but if you are already cleaning up in the early fall season, you can keep the debris and make your own. Christopher explains, “All you need to do is to mix leaves, grass clippings, plant cuttings, coffee grounds, egg shell and any old produce material into a closed container and place outside in a sunny location, and periodically turn the batch of material over. Within a short period of time (usually 6-8 weeks), the material will have composted enough for you to use for your gardening purposes.”
Once your compost has set, and the first frost arrives, Christopher advises that “Before winter sets in, put down a 1-inch layer of leaves and grass clippings over each of your beds followed by a 3-inch layer of mulch. (Bags of compost from your local nursery or town dump can be used if you don’t have the leaves or grass clippings). Your plants will appreciate the extra layer of insulation, and the leaves and grass clippings will compost over the winter months.” Miskovsky adds that the frost on your lawn is also a timely indicator to pull your annuals.
For those who enjoy water gardens in their landscape, Murphy, who notes that Coy’s Brook specializes in this feature, says that it is time to “disconnect the pump to stop water flow, but keep a pathway or opening with a small heater or tubes to the pond so that the ice breaks. Fish run out of oxygen after seven days, therefore a hole or pathway to allow air in is needed to keep an oxygen supply.” Like a pool made for humans, it is important to then take out any lines or UV lights so they don’t freeze over the winter.
And as snow threatens to be the sight you will see for the next few months, Christopher suggests making a map of your spring garden, so when the days get dark, you can be reminded of the bright blooms ahead.
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