Fall Gardening Tips

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Autumn leaves may be coming down, but there's still time to plant and prepare for next year. Our resident gardening expert, Eliza Fournier, joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm with tips for the season. Check out a few of Eliza's tips for your garden below.

Hyacinth Bulbs. Click image to view photo gallery.PLANT BULBS:
It’s STILL not too late to plant those bulbs. Bulbs can go in the ground until you can’t dig anymore.

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- Good rules of thumb:

  • Pointy end up
  • Plant 3 times as deep as the bulb is tall
  • Plant several bulbs in the same hole for a fuller look

- Place popsicle sticks in the ground where you sink groupings so you can remember NEXT fall and don’t dig them up.

Click image to view photo gallery.PUMPKIN LEFTOVERS:
What can you do with your pumpkins now that Halloween is over?

- If you have NOT carved them:

  • Cook them up and puree! Use pumpkin puree to make pies, breads, etc. Remember, there are varieties that are better tasting than others; they are often labeled as “pie” or baking pumpkins in the nursery or on the seed packet.
  • Use them as pots for ornamental plants (mums, kale) that have withstood the frost.
  • Hollow them out and use them as vases for ornamental grasses, berries, bittersweet inside your home for Thanksgiving.

- If you HAVE carved them:

  • Compost them in your pile; make sure to cut them up for faster decomposition.
  • If you don’t have a compost pile, dig a hole anywhere in your garden (maybe the lawn isn’t the best) and cover them up. This will save them from going to the landfill. 
  • Pick up stray seeds and roast them or save them; wash and dry them to plant next season!

What should you do with all those leaves?

- They are a great source of nutrients and organic matter for your garden.

  • Rake them up and mow them with your mower, then return them to garden beds as mulch.
  • Add them to your community garden compost bin (after you have asked the garden leaders, of course!)

If you still haven’t had enough gardening, consider extending your growing season.

- Use PVC or metal “wickets” covered in clear plastic, or even just agribon. This will allow you to grow lettuce, spinach, radishes and greens almost all winter!

  • This can also help you overwinter carrots, onions and kale in your garden for early spring (or winter) harvest!

For more information, visit the links and photo gallery below.

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