Fall Care - Knowledgebase Question

Ann Arbor, MI
Question by bkeating17
October 25, 2002
My question may be too general. We have moved into a home with an already established garden. I have never cared for one in the past. I am clueless about what I should be doing to prep for winter and plan for spring. I am not sure what should be cut back, fertilized, bulbs planted for some spring growth, as well as planning for through for sustained blooming that I have enjoyed since moving in. Is there a good "Gardening for dummies" type resource?


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Answer from NGA
October 25, 2002

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to stock them as well. Your county extension may also offer gardening information and be a source of helpful advice for you.

As with most things, too, we learn a lot about gardening as we go just through trial and error. That is part of what makes it interesting and fun. You will also find that most people who garden are very happy to share their experience (and opinions) about what to do.

Good luck with your new garden, I'm sure you will spend many happy hours in it.
to stock them as well. Your county extension may also offer gardening information and be a source of helpful advice for you.

As with most things, too, we learn a lot about gardening as we go just through trial and error. That is part of what makes it interesting and fun. You will also find that most people who garden are very happy to share their experience (and opinions) about what to do.

Good luck with your new garden, I'm sure you will spend many happy hours in it.
or not these are hybrid tea roses, but this is a problem you will need to address in the spring rather than now. The book Roses for Dummies includes excellent rose care instructions and clear diagrams showing what to do and how. Another approach is to work with a local consulting rosarian from the American Rose Society to identify your roses and learn to care for them.

For general garden bed maintenance, a late fall or early spring application of compost is usually a good idea, as is maintaining a layer of about three inches of organic mulch year round. These will help maintain organic matter in the soil as they break down over time.

For the same purpose, fall is a great time to start a compost area so you can collect and save the falling leaves as well as lawn clippings any other organic material (disease and pest-free as well as herbicide-free) you clean up in the fall. The leaves take far less room if chopped (you could use the lawnmower for this) and can eventually be used as mulch.

You might also apply a general purpose fertilizer in the early spring such as a granular 10-10-10 according to the label instructions. However, it is a good idea to run some basic soil tests and see if you actually need to fertilize and in what proportions -- it is better to underfeed than overfeed. Your county extension or local professionally trained nursery staff should be able to help you with soil tests and interpreting the results.

There are numerous books out there, but I do recommend the Dummies series; it includes numerous books on different aspects of gardening including the general Gardening for Dummies where you should probably start, then depending on what is in your yard look at Perennials for Dummies, Annuals for Dummies, Flowering Bulbs for Dummies, Roses for Dummies, Lawns for Dummies and so on. They are widely available in paperback and most libraries seem

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