Hello, I moved into a new house in Aug and have mostly settled in by now (mid Sept). We want to expand the footpath and put in a raised bed in the front of the house. Is it a good time to do it now or in spring (Apr)?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners: Welcome to your new garden. It is like facing an empty canvas waiting to be filled by your creativity.
Although fall is a great time to plant, you are having some hard scape done (raised beds). This might take longer than you think. You might think about creating the bones of your garden in the remaining weeks of fall: the raised beds, the expanded foot path, a tree and a few large shrubs, perhaps repositioning some of the plants already in the garden. Before you plant remember to consider sun (spring summer and fall sun path), wind, drainage and shade. Be sure to water all these transplants immediately and thoroughly (at least one minute each with a hose) after planting and everyday for at least one week. Improving the soil by adding manure compost or shredded fall leaves will prepare the soil for newly planted fall and spring plants. Given that Covid 19 has limited the amount of stock in many nurseries, I would wait to source the bulk of your plants in the spring. I believe (hope) suppliers will be able to provide more variety of plant material than they have been able to in the past few years. Remember to include some native plants and some old faithful varieties, not just what is ‘current’. And a raised bed for vegetables is popular. The internet contains many photos of plant combinations. And you can spend some sunny winter days planning what plants to choose and studying your layout. It’s really your choice, though.
If you do leave your beds for spring planting you should mulch the beds to limit weed growth while you are waiting to plant.