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Your garden doesn’t have to go bare just because the end of summer is approaching! Now is a great time to do maintenance that will extend the life of what is already planted and to do some work to ensure a great garden come spring!

[caption id="attachment_209" align="alignleft" width="300"] Keep your roses blooming throughout fall.[/caption]

Late summer/early fall is a wonderful time to plant shrubs. The cooler weather gives the plant plenty of time to get established before winter.  Be sure to water well after planting and cover the root bulb with mulch to protect from cold air.  Late summer is also the perfect time to trim, as removing dead stems, shortening healthy stalks and giving a dose of rose fertilizer will encourage growth well into fall.  After pruning, water well near the base of the plant once a week; however, avoid overhead sprinklers as those can cause black spot, powdery mildew and rust.  If tall roses need some support, invest in a trellis system which will take some weight and stress off of the plant.

[caption id="attachment_210" align="alignright" width="300"] Autumn vegetables keep fresh produce growing in cooler weather.[/caption]

Colors don’t have to fade simply because the seasons are changing.  Hardy mums, asters, marigolds and anemones provide bright blooms into the cooler weather.  Autumn vegetables are a great way to keep your gardens full - crops such as carrots, fennel, kale, lettuce and cabbage grow well in these temperatures, as do radishes, spinach and turnips. Parsnips can even be kept in the ground throughout winter and harvested in the spring! Mark your vegetables using a seed packet holder or other label so you remember which is which!

Fall is also the time to plant bulbs for next year – tulips, daffodils, irises and crocuses bring early spring color to yards, but the bulbs need to be planted by mid-November.  Did you know you can purchase bulbs now and keep them in your vegetable drawer for at least six to eight weeks?  This will make sure that the bulbs have had a long enough dormant period to create great blooms come February and March.  Also, garlic and shallots can be planted in autumn for a harvest next summer.

Flickr photo credits, from top: jessica.diamond, Southern Foodways Alliance

Written by mrchainreaction — August 12, 2010

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