These are the tasks our founder and her landscaping crew are tackling this season.

By Kier Holmes
October 28, 2019

With fall well underway, it's time to take a break from cooking hearty soups, ordering pumpkin-spiced drinks, and decorating with autumnal colors and instead head into the garden to complete some must-do chores while the weather is still pleasant. Martha, along with her gardeners and outdoor grounds crew, are also busy checking fall tasks off their to-do list at her Bedford, New York, farm. In addition to the typical fall chores, Martha and her team are always working on a few special garden projects, too.

"Fall entails garden clean up, deadheading, leaf pickup, composting, and mulching," Ryan McCallister, Martha's gardener, tells us. But the list doesn't end there. Planting bulbs and trees are a big deal on the farm—and by big we mean thousands of daffodils, alliums, and mixed small bulbs will be added to the gardens as they do every fall to increase spring blooms. "In addition, we plant lots of potted evergreen and deciduous trees that we've been growing the past few years from seedlings," McCallister says. Martha and her team recently planted London planetrees along the carriage roads around her farm to create a new allée (or an avenue). In landscaping an allée is a straight road or path lined with a row of the same large shrubs or trees.

Related: Here's What's New in Martha's Garden This Spring

McCallister also shares this bit of advice for home gardeners: "The more you feed your plants and keep them pruned and maintained the better they will grow and bloom for you. Plants need to eat!" What fertilizer is used in Martha's garden? Well, this changes depending on which plant is being fed, but the standards are Osmocote, Roots Dry Roots, Azomite, and superphosphate. "We make our own compost at the farm and use that as well," adds McCallister. Martha's nutrient-dense compost is made from all the organic debris (felled trees, leaves, and branches) amassed from the farm and this "black gold" is used to feed all of the plants.

Feeling inspired to get outside and help your fall garden get ready for its winter bed? McCallister has a word of advice: "Do as much garden clean up as possible to get the garden ready for bed because this will make the spring workload—which is the most hectic time—go much more smoothly and easily."

Last, we asked McCallister what noteworthy blooms were putting on a show right now in the garden and he replies, "Dahlias are blooming like crazy. Also asters, Japanese anemones, and colchicum."

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