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Dos and Don'ts in the fall garden

Fall in the garden means last minute veggie harvests and cool-loving florals. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Frost is in the air, which means it's time to prepare your garden for the winter months. Bring in those veggies, cover the fall flowers and take a few tips from gardening expert Jim Hole.

Q: What's the main thing to remember when planting bulbs in the fall?

Hole: Get on it now, before early October. Tulips are the most popular of all bulbs to plant in fall, but people also like narcissus and flowering onions--even garlic. For garlic plant a single clove. Tulips should be planted in a scattered pattern to achieve a natural-looking display in the spring. Whatever the bulb, drop it in pointy side up (root side down) at about three times the height of the bulb. 

You can also plant tulip bulbs in pots now, and keep in an unheated garage through the winter. Take the pot out in March and the tulips will pop up quickly for an early display of colour.

Q: How should we prepare our trees and shrubs for the winter?

Hole: There's no need to fertilize or wrap--just water everything well and continue to water right until freeze-up. You can plant new trees and shrubs now too, just give them good soil and water well.

Q: How about the lawn?

Hole: Keep the lawn reasonably moist, and mow it--but not too short a height. You don't want to have long grass that will get matted under the snow and leaves, causing mold and providing a good hiding spot for voles.

Q: How about late fall flowers? What can we keep out until freeze up?

Hole: In the veggie garden, carrots, beets, parsnips, onions and cabbage can keep through early frosts. Before the snow flies, take them in and keep them in cool storage. Fall flowers, like potted garden mums and pansies are good to light frost conditions. When choosing a potted mum, pick blooms that aren't quite budded out; they'll last longer than those in full bloom.