The first week of October is always sort of a shocker in Chicago for the urban gardener. The temperature drops and rain comes and leaves start to fall. Suddenly the realization hits that summer is over and you start to cherish each warm and sunny day. Yes the fall chill is in the air and you know one morning soon you will wake up to find everything covered in frost. As the days grow shorter the inevitable march towards winter begins.Ã‚ Now is the time to start getting your urban gardens ready for winter.
As the leaves start to pile up and the summer perennials start to die back you still have an opportunity toÃ‚ make one more harvest. Start a compost pile in the backyard, instead of bagging up all that landscape waste start composting it and reusing a wonderful resource. Not only will you benefit from this wonderful free resource you will be improving your garden and saving money as well. A good composter can be had at a reasonable price and will be a major asset throughout the year, as you make your own nutrient rich compost to add to your gardens soil.
It is also time to give your lawn one more feeding. October is probably the most important time to feed your lawn. Shortly the grass blades will stop growing but that is when the lawn is growing the most where you can’t see it. The fall and early winter grass plants are growing roots and storing food for the spring. Your lawn needs to build a healthy root system to withstand the stress of winter and to help repair all the damages from the past growing season.
Even though winter will soon be upon us you need to plant your spring flower gardens now. Spring flowering bulbs should be in the soil by Halloween to give them time to root in the moist cool fall soil before the ground freezes. In the urban garden spring flowering bulbs are a cheerful and warming reminder that spring is coming. To have a really great display you need to get those bulbs in this month. It may seem like planting something that you won’t even know is there for 6 months is a bit pointless but believe me come spring,Ã‚ you will be justly rewarded for your efforts this fall.
Urban gardening in Chicago can be a challenge but there are many rewards. If you want to have a beautiful garden in the spring the efforts you put out this fall will pay dividends in late April. When your garden is a riot of color as you stroll around it on one of those early sunny afternoons, you will be thankful for the few hours of work you did last fall.