From Amanda Murphy, M.J. Designs Sustainability Manager
At this time of the season, when the days begin to cool and draw shorter, our natural environment around us changes. It’s a good time to remember that we can take a moment to do a few simple things to help ensure that when everything starts coming to life again in the spring, there will be nutrients available to help fuel growth.
A few ways to do this are:
Leave the leaves. Leaving some leaves in and around garden beds and plants helps to provide shelter and food for beneficial insects, over-wintering moths & butterflies and adds nutrients to the soil for plant growth, soil retention and weed suppression. For more information on this process and why it’s important, visit National Wildlife Federation
Compost pumpkins, gourds, straw bales and corn stalks. By composting these items, you reduce landfill waste. These items typically are not picked up with weekly yard waste by most garbage services, because they don’t decompose like grass clippings or leaves. Fortunately, most of the cities we live in here around Columbus do provide drop off sites at their city offices. Check with your local city office for guidelines. When these seasonal materials are composted, they are typically processed into high quality mulches, composts, and soil blends that are excellent for gardens, provide nutrients to plants and improve soil health!
Add a light layer of mulch or compost to gardens late in the season. This provides added protection. Plants and other organisms need this protection to survive the winter and thrive in the Spring!
We practice these fall gardening habits here in our M.J. Landscape Garden beds and on our clients’ properties. We’re always very pleased to see the benefits that arise from following these guidelines.