Plant spring blooming bulbs. Colorblends at colorblends.com is a good source I use for premixed color combinations
Continue planting and transplanting.
Bring houseplants and tropical plants indoors but leave blooming tropical bulbs such as dahlias outdoors until after the first frost.
Poison invasive vines such as bittersweet and porcelain berry by cutting stems and dipping the fresh stem end that is still attached to the roots directly into a bottle of Round-Up.
Fertilize lawn and gardens with low nitrogen fertilizers to encourage root growth, not top growth.
David Salman of High Country Gardens, says, “without question, fall is the best time to fertilize,” when plants are pulling nutrients down from the stems and crowns and creating stores of energy below ground to be used for next spring’s regeneration. “Most plants are in very active root growth in the fall,” Salman says, “and healthy roots benefit from increased levels of phosphate, potassium and trace elements as they grow and spread.”
Salman also points to the importance of fall fertilizing with natural and organic soil amendments. Using chemical fertilizers instead of organic ones “is like drinking canned soda pop versus the best organic smoothie you can concoct,” he says. “Roots can absorb chemical fertilizers without any interface with the soil. Natural fertilizers and composts feed the soil and the soil breaks it down and makes those ingredients available to the roots. Chemical fertilizer takes a whole leg out of the equation.”
Typically, gardeners should prepare to winterize their soil after the first frost of the season, both for existing gardens and plots that will be planted the following spring.
“It’s recommended if you want to get ready to plant next spring, then prepare the soil in fall and winter,” Salman says. “That way, all those nutrients will be broken down by the soil over the fall and winter and spring months, and then when you’re ready to plant in the spring you’ve got a beautifully prepared soil.”
Salman recommends spreading compost, or an organic fertlizer over the soil. He uses Yum Yum Mix® Winterizer Organic Fertilizer, a soil conditioner that was developed exclusively for High Country Gardens. The boosted levels of premium soft rock phosphate and kelp meal (as a source of potassium) — along with granular humate, greensand, Planters II trace mineral fertilizer, alfalfa meal and cottonseed meal — nourish beneficial organisms and earthworms to support a healthy, living soil that keeps plants thriving.
He then covers it with mulch and waters thoroughly. Fall mulching further enhances the winterizing process, according to Salman. “Fall mulching will help keep the soil warmer longer into the fall so that root growth can continue, then it helps keep the soil cold through spring so things don’t wake up too early,” he says. “It also protects the soil from drying out.”
High Country Gardens is an award-winning source for waterwise, native and adapted plants. The nationally recognized mail-order catalog is available online at www.highcountrygardens.com, or by calling 1-800-925-9387