Fix fall beds so spring happens effortlessly

By fixing your garden beds before winter sets in, you can get a jump-start on spring.

We all look forward to new spring growth and the start of more creative challenges in the garden. But, our enthusiasm is often ready to shift into gear long before the soil warms up.

Clumpy, chilly, frosty, wet (clay) soil never hurried along the growth of a plant! And freeze-dried, infertile, over-porous (sand) soil never encouraged a seed to germinate. Get a head start in the fall to hurry along the warming effectiveness of your spring soil. Make your beds with the best possible amendments.

Native soil in your yard most likely consists of too much clay or too much sand. You don’t have to settle for these conditions that you’ve been dealt. By adding organic matter, you can break up the cloying clay or bulk up the wizening sand. This is the trick that good gardeners pull out of their “green thumb bags” every fall or, for that matter, whenever it’s needed.

Make sure you have healthy soil in your garden bed. Ideal soil for planting is a mixture of loam, which is crumbly and well aerated, and plenty of humus (organic) content. This loam soil will allow plant roots to grow and thrive. If your soil isn’t perfect, consider adding soil amendments. Amendments improve porosity, reduce runoff and make oxygen available for plant roots. If you don’t want to mess with all the do-it-yourself mixtures of topsoil, peat and manure, try using an all-in-one garden soil  that already combines organic matter, sphagnum peat moss and plant food all in one bag.

After you have created better soil structure, top it off with a mulch that will maintain landscaping beauty during flower–less periods and protect and stand between roots and air during extreme temperature swings. Mulch is beautiful and comes in many varieties — something for every taste.

Your plants — whether vegetables, flowers, shrubs, or trees — bring you great joy throughout the year. Whether they’re at the zenith of their performance cycle or still in infant stages, you want them to be the best that they can be.