Digging in the Dirt with Stacy Kershaw ~ September 2019 ~Forget the Fall Cleanup!

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The mornings are chillier, the days are shorter…fall is on its way. It was the perfect summer for garden lovers— lots of bright sun and healthy doses of rain.

While I’m sad to see it end, I’m excited for vibrant fall color. There is of course, the obligatory end of the season cleanup in the garden….or is there? Consider this: Pollinators and birds thrive with adequate winter cover like leaf litter and dead plant material. Bumble bees, butterflies and moths require leaf debris for winter protection. Some bees even hibernate in the stems of dried perennials and grasses. Cancel the fall cleanup and you are doing your part to feed or shelter the insects and caterpillars birds need to raise their chicks.

Then come late spring you can do just one cleanup. Wait until after you see the pollinators buzzing and flying around so to insure you don’t destroy their habitats you worked so hard (or not!) to protect over the winter.

Don’t consider spent perennials and leaves as trash, but rather, homes to attract beautiful butterflies and birds!

With all the time and energy you’ll save, or if you cancel the landscapers, the additional money you’ll have–you can start planning next year’s garden! Walk around your garden and look at what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be moved or removed.

Next month, I’ll give you some tips on the best spring bulbs for our area.

Happy Fall!