It’s official, Autumn has set in and it’s time to start winterizing your garden. The leaves are starting to crunch underfoot, temperatures dropping, and pumpkin spice everything, your garden is definitely starting to look more orange than green. The end of October is the time of the year where we begin to clean up this past year’s garden and plant for next year. But November is really when we put the garden to sleep for the winter.
Gardening in Late Autumn
Cleaning up the falling leaves is important for the health of your lawn and your garden. Although it’s very therapeutic to hear leaves crunch while walking through them, it’s best to get them up off your lawn as soon as possible. Letting leaves rot on your lawn can cause the grass to die underneath. It can smoother areas of your lawn and cause issues in the spring.
There are two ways of sustainably getting rid of your leaves. One way to get rid of those leaves is to set up a leaf compost in your yard. That way you’ll be rewarded with a rich and fertile compost for next year’s garden. If you live in Denver, you can drop off your leaves for free at the LeafDrop. LeafDrop is a seasonal program offered by Denver Recycles that turns leaves into compost. The final compost product is made available at a discounted price to Denver residents at the Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale each May.
Mulching, Mulching and Mulching
Putting a fresh layer of mulch over your garden bed will help your yard look cleaner and will aid in keeping as much moisture in the ground as possible. Don’t remove the old mulch since it contributes to adding nutrients to the ground as it decomposes. When we get those warm winter days in Colorado make sure to check the mulch and replace it as needed.
One common misconception about fall garden cleanup is that it’s necessary to prune your trees and shrubs. DO NOT PRUNE DURING THIS TIME OF YEAR. Cutting away the dying bits of your plants will not allow them to go dormant for the wintertime. Instead, they think that they need to be sending vitamins and water to the ends which have been cut. Pruning and cutting back is very important but it must wait until later in the winter or very early spring.
Decorating Indoors & Out for the Autumn Holidays
When you think of fall décor, the staples come to mind. Indian corn, pumpkin everything, and prairie grasses. Year after year these beautiful go-to ideas bring the warmth and color of autumn into your home and porches. But what about trying something new?
Try out cold-hardy plants like ornamental kale, peppers, purple cabbage, and a few varieties of lettuce are beautiful additions to your garden or patio pots. They add diversity to your fall foliage and decoration. Plant them into a patio or indoor pot with some pansies and ornamental grass for a lovely autumn display.
Food for Thought
Autumn is the time for pumpkins, squashes, and apples. Root vegetables and warm spices are also on the menu. Whether you prefer hot apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte you can’t deny the comfort that these foods bring when the weather turns cooler.
One of our favorite recipes is a Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Soup.
- Medium size Butternut squash
- 1 carrot
- Yellow onion
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 sprig of fresh sage
- 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
Diced up the squash, carrots, apple, and onion into medium-sized chunks. Add to a crockpot with the vegetable broth and sprig of sage and nutmeg. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or until butternut squash is tender. Remove age and add coconut milk. Blend with an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.