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Gardening Tasks for Autumn



Autumn is clean-up time! Time to rake up leaves and either burn or compost them.

It is time to deadhead shrubs and remove seed heads so your garden is not overrun next spring. Deadheading encourages new growth and sometimes new flowers too.

You can either burn or compost your green waste. It’s best not to include seed heads in your bins in case the seeds don’t die completely and sprout again next season. The smaller you chop and shred your compost materials, the more quickly they will break down. Your compost should be a mix of green and brown material. Green material can include leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste. Brown material includes twigs, sticks, dried leaves and shredded paper and cardboard.

Cover your compost pile or bins with a semi-weatherproof material like old carpet, corrugated iron or something else that will keep out the rain and help retain warmth. Composting slows down in winter without the heat of the sun so you might need more space than you think in order to deal with your waste. But it is much better to repurpose it on your property to reduce landfill, and use it to improve your garden soil.

If you collect the leaves that have fallen from your trees you can create highly nutritious (for your garden!) leaf mulch. If the leaves are large, run over them with the lawn mower first. Gather all your leaves into large black plastic bags, poke a few small holes, add a handful of lime, sprinkle with water if the leaves are dry, tie the tops tightly and leave them in an undisturbed spot for at least six months. Then add it to your garden to enrich the soil.

Autumn is also time to put your gardens to bed for winter. A good dose of mulch, compost, pea straw or other biodegradable covering will protect your soil from winter rains, frosts, hail and snow, all of which can harm its structure and the organisms that live in it. Over time, these materials break down into the soil, feeding the organisms below, creating a wonderfully rich, fertile humus that your plants will thrive in.

If your garden is getting on top of you and you want a hand – whether that's weekly, fortnightly, monthly or seasonally – call Richard at Richard Forbes Gardening for a chat.