Fall Back, Spring Ahead

You may not think of the Fall as the best time to tend to your garden as winter temperatures and weather are closer than they are far away, but it turns out that there is a lot of work to be done in the fall, to prepare your garden and yard for the Spring ahead. So, as you look to the holiday season, we urge you to act now so by the time the last frost has melted, you’ll have gorgeous new Spring flowers blossoming and waiting to greet you.

Not sure where to start? You aren’t alone. Read on for our expert tips on how to choose the best location for your spring flowers, how to prepare the soil, and how to plant fall bulbs to ensure you get beautiful spring blooms.

Find a good spot in your yard

Before you just dig a hole anywhere and plunk new bulbs in your garden, you need to pause for a moment. Think about the sunlight and how it moves around your yard during the day. Many spring flowers thrive when they get about 6 hours of sunshine. For early spring bloomers, you can even plant them near trees because the tree leaves haven’t come in yet and the plants will get their needed sunshine before the full canopy grows in.

When you are considering what you want to plant, always read the packaging to understand how tall they will be at full height. Aim to have your taller flowers in the back of the garden bed and the lower ones in the front. Also, you can place flowers that bloom early in the spring in the back of your garden with flowers that bloom later in the spring towards the front. That way, the later bloomers hide the wilting earlier bloomers.

Soil, soil, toil, and shovel

It’s well-known in the gardening community that your blooms are only as good as the soil you plant them in. You and a friend may do plant the same plant in the same garden, but whoever does more work upfront to prepare the plant site will likely come away with the bigger and fuller blooms.

You can have this success by digging deep to help those roots find footing in your yard and prepping your soil with superior compost. You should also pull out the weeds before plunking in those bulbs. No need to encourage more weeds over the winter. Using Atlantic Mulch’s First Bloom, a professional mix of grade A compost and aged pine bark provides superior drainage and porosity to help foster incredible plant blooms come springtime.

Better bulbs for bursts of spring color

Now is the time to plant spring-blooming plants. But which bulbs should you plant in the Fall for Spring? Try any of these varieties for a full bloom spring garden:

  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Crocuses

If you want blooms in late summer or early fall, be sure to plant your bulbs in the early summer. On the other hand, if you want blooms in the spring, simply plant them in the fall instead!

Look for bulbs that are in open bins rather than prepackaged, so you can look over each bulb. Healthy bulbs are firm. And, don’t get the smallest bulbs among the flowers you want; go for the larger ones as they are typically healthier.

If you’re not planting right away, make sure you store the bulbs correctly. Don’t store them in plastic bags; they’ll rot or mold. Keep them in a paper bag and store them in a cool place—even your refrigerator will do!

Finally, it’s time to plant your bulbs. Be sure to dig the holes three times deeper than the bulb itself to allow the roots space to grow. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed side facing upwards. If you can’t tell if the bulb has a tip, place it sideways to allow nature to take its course!

10 fall garden tips

Here are some other fall garden tips for you.

  1. Fall is the perfect time to remove dead limbs from your trees and shrubs. The leaves are still on them, so it’s easy to spot those areas that need to be removed. Fall is the time to remove deadwood.
  2. Do not prune shrubs or trees in early fall, because pruning stimulates growth. For a pruning calendar, see the NC Cooperative Extension Pruning Calendar.
  3. So that you don’t forget where your perennials are planted, take time now to mark where they are with some garden markers. Even popsicle sticks will do!
  4. Many nurseries are already preparing for the holidays and need room. They have large sales on lawn equipment, gardening tools, and other gardening basics. You can save money getting what you need during these fall sales.
  5. Did you bring some of your indoor plants outside for summer breezes? Now’s the time to bring them back inside and transition them back to the indoor temperatures.
  6. You might want to take a few of your herbs and plant them in small containers to bring inside for the winter. Think about your favorite oregano, basil, mint, parsley, and thyme plants and don’t forget dill, tarragon, and rosemary for any herb vinaigrette recipes.
  7. Before you bring any plants inside, always check for insects first.
  8. Think about your existing garden. Is it getting overcrowded? Could some plants benefit from being divided? Yes, the fall is the right time to split some of your perennials.
  9. Like to share? Want to meet others who share your gardening zest? Fall is the time for exchanging plants that you divide and re-plant, such as hostas, daylilies, elephant ears, and black-eyed susans.
  10. Did you have any left-over seed packets that you thought you’d plant and just didn’t get to? You can save them for next year. They just need a little extra care to make it through the winter. Put them in plastic bags and add a paper towel with some cornstarch to help keep the seeds dry. Store them in a dry area with cold, but not freezing, temperatures.

For lots of great ideas, see https://www.atlantic-mulch.com/news-events/