« Previous  
 Next »

Fall Chores

11/12/08 5:55PM By Henry Homeyer
 MP3   Download MP3 

(HOST) It's time to get ready for winter, and commentator Henry Homeyer says that doing fall chores in the garden can help with the seasonal transition.  

(HOMEYER) As the days get shorter, the gray skies get colder, the last of our flowers fade and disappear, and I struggle to keep my spirits from descending into gloom. I'm a gardening guy, and this is NOT my season. But there's still much I can do outdoors, and working in the yard helps me through the dark days of fall.

I'm still weeding, even after most of my gardening friends have hung up their tools. Recently I was in the asparagus patch, pulling weeds that snuck in while my attention was elsewhere. Asparagus plants really appreciate a weed-free bed, so I'm trying to get every one. Later I'll apply a layer of mulch. When the asparagus patch wakes up in the spring, weeds won't be competing for water and nutrients.

Recently I took the lawnmower, attached the bagger, and ran over the lawn to chop and gather the leaves. Chopped leaves are great mulch. I use them in the vegetable garden, around the base of trees and in perennial beds. They add nutrients to the soil, feed the earthworms and microbes, and help keep down the weeds. You might think that leaves would blow around, but once they've been rained on they settle in nicely and don't go anywhere.     

This is a good season to prune trees and shrubs, so I've been working on ours. Their leaves have fallen, making it easier to see which branches need to be removed. The first step is always to remove any dead branches. If in doubt, I use a fingernail to scrape the bark. If I see a layer of green, I know the branch is alive. If not - snip - off she comes. Then I remove branches that are crossing or rubbing any others. And I prune for beauty, too. I want my trees and shrubs to be aesthetically pleasing, not messy with random branches criss-crossing and cluttering up the natural shape of the plant.

Each fall I plant a hundred spring bulbs or more. Instead of planting them one at a time, I dig a wide shallow hole, add some compost, and plant 25 or more - like a big family. I like the look of a mass planting, and sometimes plant 100 tulips in one place. When they bloom I have more than enough for vases in the house and extras to give away. It's not too late to plant some more.

I've taken down the hammock - it's too cold for much lounging - but I still have to organize our little barn and bring in the wheelbarrows and lawn chairs. I accept that gardening is nearly done for the year. I like to sit in my easy chair upstairs at dusk, looking out the window at the garden. I try to visualize the spring bulbs nestled in their beds, resting, and getting ready for their dramatic entrance in the spring.
comments powered by Disqus
Supported By
Become an Underwriter | Find an Underwiter