Growing a garden in the fall

Phantom Screens / August 4, 2016

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As fall deepens, you may be lamenting the final days of your garden’s bloom. After all the work you did this summer, you might be missing sitting on your porch and admiring the plants. Fortunately, it’s not too late to do some more planting or enjoy that lovely view. Fall affords plenty of opportunities to enjoy your garden and porch.

Compost

Most everyone loves fall leaves for their beauty. The vibrant tones say volumes about the season’s sense of change. But those leaves can be useful elsewhere. After sweeping or raking them from your outdoor living spaces (and after jumping in the pile), put the leaves in your compost. As they decay, leaves give off plenty of carbon, making them a great addition to a balanced compost.
Fall is also a great time to trim and prune shrubs. You’ll save time and energy by doing this now rather than in spring, and the twigs you gather from pruning can also be added to your compost. Larger branches should be chopped up if you want to throw those in as well.

Thinking ahead

A lot of fall and winter gardening is preparation for spring. Like working on your compost, you can get going on some of the chores you’ll have months from now. Planting bulbs is a perfect example. Tulips, irises and crocuses are just a few bulbs that need a winter freeze to start their growing process. By planting them now, you are ensuring a colorful spring. You want to be certain to get going on this before the ground freezes, but when temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also jump the gun by buying spring seeds in the fall. Buying ahead may help you get a discount, as spring seeds are out of season. To keep them fresh, store the seeds in the freezer and keep seedlings indoors.

Repotting

Plants that have overgrown their containers need to be repotted in a larger spot. The day before you transfer your plant, make sure it has plenty of moisture. It is much easier to transplant when the soil isn’t dry. Prune any dead roots or branches after removing the plant from its existing pot. Take away about a third of the old potting mix and loosen the root ball. Add potting mix to the new container, then put the plant in the center. Cover with more soil and water.
Repotted plants are perfect decor for your outdoor living spaces and patios. If you have plants that are more delicate, keep them in a screened-in area. Phantom’s retractable screen systems will allow you to control how much shelter the potted plants get. On beautiful sunny fall days, open the screens and let the plants perform photosynthesis. When the air is cooler or breezy, lower the screens for some protection. With retractable screen systems, you can enjoy your plants longer whether that means sitting on the porch to enjoy the view, or keeping them safe from the elements within a screened area.
Trees and shrubs
Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs because the hot summer sun doesn’t have a chance to erode the roots. Plant these a few weeks before the first frost so that the roots can start to establish themselves. You’ll also want to wrap branches and leaves in burlap to protect them from the cold.

Soil

The top soil of your yard isn’t as active in the fall, but underneath growth is still happening. During fall, continue to fertilize your lawn for the best garden results in the spring. Fertilizer rich in phosphorus is especially good for this time of year, as it helps strengthen roots. This is perfect if you decided to plant shrubs.

Even as the cold settles, fall can still be a great time to work on and enjoy your outdoor living spaces.