Many people may see spring as the start of the growing year as it sees new growth, fresh leaves and brilliant early blooms, but the autumn prep is exactly what makes that season a success.
Here’s why autumn is the start of the growing year…
By planning ahead and working towards the next goal, it’s a great way of focusing the mind and giving ourselves a sense of purpose.
Achieving those small goals along the way shows that our efforts are a success, and the gardening jobs that we do all the way through the year all come together resulting in our flourishing gardens.
Prep the plants
Planting shrubs and fruit bushes are great tasks to do in autumn. Hawthorn, privet, gooseberries, currants, and blackberries will all do well when planted at this time of year. This is because they get a chance to root in before the winter so they get a good start in spring.
Trees can also be moved in this season whilst they are dormant and not actively growing. This forward thinking will help with a fruitful harvest, flowers and foliage in the following year.
Tidy garden, tidy mind
The beds and borders will benefit from a sort out. Removing spent flowers, dying leaves and stems by hand, or cutting them at the base whilst removing weeds will make the space look neat and tidy.
Remove or dig out any weeds and spread some organic matter like well-rotted manure over the soil for a layer of insulation for the plant roots and through the winter, the worms will work it into the soil. These jobs will keep your body moving and active by bending, pulling, and digging.
Just like we keep ourselves warm in the winter, preparing and protecting plants for the colder months ahead is important.
Do this by moving tender perennials under cover from the frost and mulching beds and borders with organic matter or adding a layer of bark or wood chips. Wrap tender tree trunks such as palm trees with a fleece for winter protection.
Once the main growing season is over, you may have noticed that your garden has gone through a lot, so you can take some time to make repairs and check your garden is ready for the winter winds.
Raised beds, sheds, compost bins, greenhouses and fences will all benefit from a check to ensure they are robust enough with no leaky roofs or weak spots so they can stand autumnal gales and so everything looks spick-and-span when growing season rolls around again.
Leave them out
Clearing fallen leaves will keep your garden looking tidy, and keep it safe too, as they can become slip hazards on lawns and paths. It also means you can collect plenty of ‘brown’ materials for your compost heap which will help your harvests to thrive through the year.
By adding these to your compost pile, you’ll be providing carbon to the mix to help the process. However, be sure not to add too much at once otherwise it will slow down the process. Alternatively, you can gather the leaves in a hessian bag and leave them behind the shed so they can break down.
With all these tips covered, your garden will be ready to re-emerge from the cooler months with bright blooms, fresh fruits, and fantastic foliage. The jobs and preparation now will benefit your future garden and prolongs the time you spend outdoors getting fresh air and keeping active.
* David Domoney is a Thrive Ambassador and a presenter on ITV's Love Your Garden