For years in fall, I’ve faithfully reduce my herbaceous, perennial flowers; akin to peony, hosta, phlox, and echinacea to wash up the beds for winter. However now my pondering has modified.

It began once I requested myself, why take away all that plant matter in any respect? Normally I minimize the foliage to the bottom, transfer it to the compost pile and subsequent 12 months transfer some compost again into the beds. However why create all that further work? Why not compost the foliage in place?

My horticultural mind went into overdrive repeating all of the occasions I’ve heard about eradicating diseased and insect-infested foliage from the garden so they will not re-infest crops subsequent spring. However what about crops which might be principally wholesome, or have illnesses that all the time present up anyway, akin to powdery mildew?

So now I chop and drop. My new favourite garden instrument for the duty is a handbook hedge trimmer. After the birds are completed selecting out the seeds of my echinacea and Black-Eyed Susan crops, I merely chop the crops into small items and go away them on the soil. The natural matter protects the plant roots in winter. By spring, a lot of the materials has decomposed and I saved myself alot of additional work. However what in regards to the overwintering pests? If the crops had been closely diseased or pest-infested, I nonetheless take away them. However for all of the others, if a couple of dangerous bugs survive across the plant, then a couple of useful ones will as properly. Leaving the tops as they might naturally within the wild, merely offers all of the creatures, good and unhealthy, a spot to dwell.

I’ve to warn you, when you’re nonetheless connected to the aesthetic of superbly cleaned and tidy perennial beds, this methodology might not swimsuit you. It is messy. However when you’re keen to present it a attempt, chop and drop the foliage.

Now for this week’s tip: cowl strawberry beds with a layer of hay or straw to forestall them from freezing, thawing and heaving in winter.

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