The songbirds have gone south for the winter, the air has chilled and your flower beds are spent. They are in need of a thorough fall cleaning so that in the spring you can get right to planting and tending to your spring flowers. Here’s how to clean flower beds in the fall.
How To Clean Flower Beds In The Fall
Maintaining flower beds in the fall will only add to the beauty of your flower garden come spring and summer.
Proper attire for flower bed cleaning
Before even heading outdoors, in the fall, you must prepare for the weather.
Fall days can be quite chilly and windy. So make sure to dress warmly in order to enjoy your time cleaning out spent flower beds. Dressed warmly already? You need proper garden shoes for this task too.
Wellies, or waterproof rubber knee high boots, sold in most garden stores can be a gardeners best friend in the fall when mud seems to be everywhere. A good pair of waterproof garden gloves is always a necessity when gardening. A light, windproof jacket that allows for flexibility, and comes with a hood can keep you protected from biting winds.
Steps to cleaning your garden beds
Gather all the leaves, twigs and any other organic matter that have fallen off nearby trees and bushes and throw them into your compost bin. In the spring, you’ll have some fresh, nutritious compost for your new garden.
Use a garden rake to clean up your beds of debris, or spent mulch.
Some gardeners choose to leave the previous year’s mulch and lay new mulch on to of it. Others rake out the old and discard it every year. If you choose to remove your mulch, make sure you dispose of it in the trash can and not a compost bin, as most mulch is chemically dyed. You don’t want to use chemically dyed mulch in your vegetable garden.
Once your mulch is discarded, begin trimming back perennials that will overwinter (i.e. lamb’s ear, climbing roses). Cover any exposed roots of surviving plants with fresh topsoil, garden soil, or peat moss. Pull any dead plants, and give a good trim to your shrubbery.
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The last thing you want to do in the fall is to fertilize your beds to give them an extra boost for surviving the winter. There are many different ways of fertilizing. Different types of plants take different fertilizers in various concentrations of fertilizer. Be sure that you educate yourself on your plants’ fertilization requirements.
Mulching in the fall
Some gardeners choose to mulch in the fall, especially in perennial beds. This is so that in the spring their flower beds are virtually maintenance free.
Do the hard work in the fall and relax in the spring.
However, keep in mind that the winter season can be a harsh one and there will most certainly be leaves and sticks piled in garden beds in the spring no matter how much you’ve cleaned in the fall. So, it may be best to wait until spring to re-mulch or at least plan to touch up your mulch in the spring.
Cleaning out flower beds in the fall can be a very daunting task. But your hard work will pay off in the spring when you spot the first flowers of spring peeping up out of the soil.
Your plants will thrive in the healthy, clean environment that you have provided for them. Hopefully, knowing how to clean flower beds in the fall will help you relax and enjoy your time out in the garden.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project.