6 Reasons Why Autumn Is the Perfect Time to Plan Next Year’s Garden
You would think that after months of working your garden you would be ready to spend autumn and winter sitting back to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Most people are ready for a break at that point, but that is probably the worst thing you can do. Not only is it essential to get certain seeds and bulbs in the ground before the snow sets in, but there are other things you need to accomplish before you can take that much needed break. Autumn is the perfect time to plan and prepare for next year’s garden and there are at least six reasons why.
1. Time to Evaluate This Year’s Successes and Failures
Even the best of gardeners realise there are things they could have done better. Whether your garden is simply to be enjoyed visually or a place where you grow vegetables, fruits and herbs, it is unlikely that every plant will do well. While there are times there is nothing you could have done better, other times the mistakes were yours.
Understand that there will be times that seeds carry genetic flaws that cause problems with production and there is nothing you can do about that. However, other times plants needed more sun, less sun, more water, less water or simply better nutrients than you provided. These are all things you must evaluate before making the same mistakes again the following year.
2. Prune Back Perennials to Weather the Winter
Whether your perennials are edible or decorative, it is usually necessary to prune them back in the autumn for two main reasons. The first reason is to keep them close enough to the ground so that they can be covered to avoid being killed by frozen temperatures. Another reason you would want to prune back perennial vines like grapes growing on a trellis is to ensure adequate growth in successive years.
If you don’t adequately prune perennials, you are likely to stunt the next year’s harvest. You may also wish, at this point, to add another few trellis panels so that you can get other climbing perennials in the ground which need to be planted before the first frost sets in.
3. Order Supplies for the Next Year
Speaking of adding a wooden trellis, it is often better to order them in the autumn than to wait for the following spring because that is a time when you want to be planting, not building! If you order your garden trellis and supplies for erecting them, you’ll have everything completed or at least have them on hand before the mad rush begins to get everything in the ground.
Companies like Buy Fencing Direct have a large selection of garden trellis panels as well as any supports, fixings, bases or holders you might need to ensure they can carry the weight of the vines they will be supporting. Whether you plan on getting those trellises up this autumn or after the ground has thawed, it’s important to have everything on hand to avoid prolonged delays in erecting any new trellises or supports. You can find guidance on how to erect a trellis at DIY Basics.
4. Time to Collect, Dry, and Store Seeds
Many gardeners choose to grow organic gardens from strains they know to be healthy producers. Autumn is the time to begin collecting seeds from any plants you intend to continue growing the following year. There is a process for collecting seeds to be dried and stored and each step follows specific guidelines. For example, most gardeners know which seeds are most likely to sprout well when it’s time to germinate them.
Nice plump seeds of any size are a good indication that they are viable and it can be more time consuming than you imagine cleaning and examining seeds you collect from plants you’ve grown. There is also a proper way to dry and preserve seeds so that they don’t shrivel up or mould during the months of storage. This can be a time consuming labour of love, so always make sure to set aside time in early autumn to get this task out of the way.
5. Necessary Steps to Prepare the Garden for Spring Tilling
Although you know it’s best to till the soil in the spring when the soil is dry enough to turn easily, there are steps you must take in the autumn before you lay the soil to rest. Many gardeners mulch and cover the soil for the winter months and this takes care of a couple potential problems at the same time.
However, by covering the garden areas you’ve mulched and covered, you are helping to keep the soil underneath from getting overly wet to be worked with in spring. Water runoff from melting snow will drain to areas you won’t need to work.
6. The Perfect Time to Expand Your Garden Area
So, you’ve done well this year and have decided that it’s time to increase production of your edibles or to carry those lovely flowers into other areas of your property. What you will soon come to realise is that there will be no time in the spring to get these tasks done because that is a time when you’ll be planting and caring for seedlings. There is much to be done in the spring and if you wait until the ground is ready to be prepared for a new garden patch, you will be taking time away from the areas ready for your attention.
It’s imperative that you plan next year’s garden the previous autumn so that you have ample time on your hands to carry out the work which needs to be done to ensure adequate growth. You may be ready for that much anticipated winter break but that time isn’t here just yet! Don’t forget you also need to preserve any edibles you intend to save for later use. If you want to ensure that you have a healthy garden you can enjoy the following year, schedule time to plan and prepare before the snow sets in.