Written by: Sherie Shaffer, CSU Extension-Pueblo County Horticulture Agent
I don’t know about you, but any opportunity to be a lazy gardener is one I will definitely take! As it turns out, being a bit lazy in the fall is actually good for the Earth and your yard! Less is really more when it comes to fall garden chores, read on to learn more.
The first fall chore you can and should be lazy about is leaves. Dry fall leaves make a great mulch for the ground they fall on. If they fall on your driveway, you can sweep them into your lawn or flower beds. Leaves on your lawn should be mowed and left on the grass. This will help mulch the lawn and eventually they will decompose and add organic matter to your soil, making it healthier and better for beneficial microorganisms to live in. If you have extra dry leaves, add them to your compost pile as a “brown” material.
Speaking of composting, why not get started this fall? Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill, and you can make your own soil amendment! Starting to compost at home couldn’t be easier. Choose a site and if needed, a structure to compost in. Check out this video on how to make a cheap and easy wire compost bin. You want to try and have an even balance of brown (dried leaves, cardboard, etc.) to green (kitchen scraps, fresh plant material), but don’t overthink it. Add some leaves to your bin and start throwing your kitchen scraps in every night. Keep it moist and give it a stir every now and then, and you will be on your way to making your own home made compost.
Another thing you can be lazy about is cutting back and removing plants from your garden. If any of your plants are diseased or had problems with insects, they should be removed right away. You also shouldn’t compost these diseased plants so you don’t spread the problem to the garden when you add your compost to it. Healthy plants can stay in the garden until early spring, however. These plants will provide shelter and forage for wildlife and beneficial insects. Along those same lines, wait to cut back perennials until spring for the same reason. Not only do they provide beneficial things for wildlife, but some have interesting seed heads and fruit remnants that give your yard some winter interest.
I hope you are inspired to maybe do less in your garden this fall for the good of the environment!
From the Ground Up, Fall 2020