Given the busy spring and summer season, we all might be getting a little tired right about now when it comes to our yard work. However, if you can muster up the energy to get out there for the Fall clean up you might save yourself a lot of work when next Spring arrives. Besides, the weather (especially, in Connecticut and the rest of the Northeast) has been absolutely gorgeous this October...what a perfect time to go out there and dig our fingers in the dirt!
* These particular flowers are dropping a tremendous amount of seeds at this time of year. The seeds are also very winter hardy and come Spring, you will be throwing out your back pulling out all those new shoots.
** You can also cut back some of your spent perennial flowers / shrubs in the Autumn or leave them if you want some winter interest (picture snow resting or icicles forming on your favorite evergreen Azalea, like ours below). Ornamental grasses are also very serene in the winter when the feathery seed heads are covered with snowflakes.
*** Some gardeners use "Preen" in the soil during Fall clean up to stop seeds from germinating but at Earthworm Technologies we don't condone the use of any chemicals in your land. Instead, we encourage you to use organic products for the garden or implement more preventative / sustainable methods. (Keep in mind, if you use Preen in any planters where you grow annuals from seed, you will be hindering the germination of those "good" seeds, as well as the bad ones you don't want. Preen is not selective).
* Many annual flowers' seeds can be harvested during your Fall clean up - Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos and Celosias are among the easiest to harvest seeds from.
** Make sure the flower has completely faded, turned brown and crumples in your hand – this is a good indication that the seeds will be ready to harvest. Pluck them too early and they'll be too green (not ready) and won't germinate for you.
*** Want to know another trick from Earthwormtec? We actually harvest some of our favorite Rudbeckias as we are walking around the garden. We then dig some seeds into the soil of our favorite spots and leave them there to overwinter. A little bit of effort in your Fall clean up and Poof - green shoots in the Spring!
* You are actually paying someone to get rid of something that is organic and very beneficial in your garden.
** Either mow the lawn yourself while cleaning up this Fall (including the leaves) or tell your lawn guy to do it and let the natural decomposition process take over for the next few months…allowing the nutrients of those dead leaves to seep back into your lawns (the leaf mulch will also be a nice added buffer for your planters during the winter months).
* Especially if you have any rhizome-type flowers (i.e. Irises). Some insects will overwinter or lay their eggs in the piles of leaf debris (especially moths and iris borers). They'll continue to incubate there and eat their way through your plants in the Spring.
* You can have a very simple compost setup in your lawn for leaves / twigs. If you want to go a step further you can even compost those old Fall pumpkins, squashes and any of your family's raw veggie and fruit scraps that are currently going in the garbage, with a small worm bin.
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