Prepping a Fall Garden | Shades of Green Blog


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Hi there! Welcome to the PawPaw Patch blog, a place to learn and grow. We've been up to this for a while, so I want to share what we've learned in the field so we can accelerate change together. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi, I'm Brandy.



Prepping a Fall Garden

Oct 5, 2020

As the autumn equinox settles us in for winter, this is a lovely time for caretaking and connecting with your garden.

As the autumn equinox settles us in for winter this is a lovely time for caretaking and connecting with your garden. Here are a few tasks you can do now that will help put your garden to rest and be ready for next spring:

  • Fall is the perfect time to clean up and replenish your garden with fresh compost.
  • Deadheading or cutting the dead blooms off perennials so their energy is sent to the roots for winter will help perennial systems gain strength for the spring. 
  • This is also a great time for transplanting. You can observe and interact with your garden and see if certain plants might be happier in a new location next year with more air flow, space or sunshine. 
  • As for soil building, this is the time to add organic matter. Try composted leaves with a nice fresh mulch layer on top to tuck it all in for winter. This protects your soil for the cold winter and allows life to thrive under the soil in preparation for spring. 
  • Fall is also a great time for bulb planting⏤they’ll rest all winter long in their new home and come up first thing in the spring. 
  • Another great thing is all the leaves! You can strategically use your yard’s shedding of leaves to build your entire landscape’s health overtime! 


Before Deadheading

After Deadheading

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  1. Brandy – loving the blog and am going to share it with my folks over at Wicked Tulips, Your tips are super helpful and easy to implement. I often don’t know what I should be deadheading and what I should leave. I have two questions. 1. I believe that some bees and other insects nest in hollow stems. If I didn’t cut them back early on when they were green should I leave them and should I leave some for the bees etc.? 2. Your last tip about strategically using your yard’s shedding of leaves to build your entire landscape’s health overtime! What does that mean exactly, how does that work? Perhaps this is another blog post 😉 Thanks so much ~Keriann

    • Brandy Hall says:

      Thanks for sharing! Per your questions: 1. I generally deadhead perennials with seed heads, and then scatter the seeds in the area where I want to encourage them to propagate. If you cut them with about 6″-8″ above ground, hollow stems can certainly encourage the over-wintering of beneficial insects. I leave anything with winter interest, such as oakleaf hydrangea. For native grasses, I generally leave those intact through the winter to encourage the overwintering of beneficial insects, provide winter interest, forage for birds during the cold months, and provide structure for meadow species in the spring. 2. You can rake leaves and use them as a winter mulch layer in any planting beds, in lieu of mulching in the spring. This will add free organic matter to your plantings, increasing water storage during the dry months, and protect roots from frost. If you’re concerned about the volume of leaves and the strong winds undoing your mulching, you can gather the leaves in a separate composting area to let them decay a bit before transferring them to your planting beds. Hope this helps! And thanks for your questions!

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