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In the garden: Leaf it alone

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 9:24 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - On this week’s “In the Garden,” Sharon and Charlie tell us why sometimes the best thing to do with your garden in the fall is to “just leaf it alone.”

"Sharon: Charlie your garden looks so much better than mine this time of year things are starting to look sad at my house.

Charlie: well a lot of gardens are starting to look sad especially the flower gardens. So it’s time to start doing some flower gardening cleanup but there’s new information about how you should do that. Sharron: OK

Charlie: and I call it call it the leave it technology

Sharron: sounds good already !(laughter)

Charlie: just like the command you use for your dogs leave it, leave it! (laughter, dog barking)

Sharron: leave it!

Charlie: leave it (laughter)!

Charlie: so just leave it that’s the whole idea. So whether it be leaves on your lawn or some of your plants you want to leave them in place. So if you have a light layer of leaves on your lawn just mow them down and leave them they’re all chopped up the earthworms will come down will munch on them it will send nutrients back down into the soil and your grass will grow even better as well as the plants.

Sharron: you probably want to do that a couple of times so the leaves don’t get too thick right?

Charlie: yes if it’s really thick you’re going to have to rake them off obviously but if it’s just a thin layer just mow them down. In the flower garden the new idea is that if you Send nutrients back down into the soil and your grass will grow even better as well as the plants. Sharron: you probably want to do that a couple of times so the leaves don’t get too thick right? Charlie: yes if it’s really thick you’re going to have to rake them off obviously but if it’s just a thin layer just mow them down. In the flower garden the new idea is that if you have cone shaped flowers like Echinacea, Rudbeckia Helenium those you want to leave it because it’s good food for the birds.

Sharron: oh nice!

Charlie: all those cones are loaded with seeds and you can watch Chickadees and the Goldfinches come in there it’s a lot of fun actually. And I’ll just kind of strip them off overtime. So leave them well into November then when you get to the third leave it when you have to chop things down you want to chop them and drop them just leave them in place. And that’s going to protect the soil through the winter, add a nice mulch there, it’s also going to be the home for overwintering insects like beneficial insects and bees. So it’s a great thing to just leave the chopped pieces in place unless you have really heavily diseased plants then you might want to remove them. But for most of them leave them in place and then you’ll have a jumpstart on next year. Of course you always want to do a little weeding and a little spreading of the compost to that’s always going to be a good thing in the fall."

That wraps up this week’s In the garden, till next week.

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