What to do to prep for spring gardening in the fall?

hairdoer asks: What to do to prep for spring gardening in the fall?
I live in the midwest and would like to know what I can do now for preparing next springs gardening. Would it be wise to dig up areas now for planting in spring? Also, what perennials are good for Wisconsin?

The answer voted best is:

Answer by uncrk123
I like to till up the area and than put compost or “hot” fertilizer on the area and let the snow pack it in.

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  1. Three options:

    1. Till it, like the previous poster said, and allow the winter weather to break up the chunks.

    2. Till it, then sow winter wheat or rye. You’ll get small blades before the winter cold hits and kills them, but they’ll be back in early spring. Let them grow (they’ll choke out weeds) until planting-out time, then till it all in on a day when the soil isn’t too wet. You’ll add a whole bunch of organic matter to your soil.

    3. Slash all the expired annuals, leave them on the ground, then build up a ‘sheet mulch’. By springtime you’ll have a lovely spongy top layer of composted organic matter to plant your transplants into. See links for details.

    (no idea what would be good for Wisconsin, sorry. I live in a much warmer area.)

  2. I now live in St. Louis, but lived in Minnesota for 5 years, and whatever you are going to do you should have a plan executed by the endof October! I would stake out the area(s) you can use pegs and string, remove all grass(It’s just a thing I have about it coming back) and til the areas, dig at least 6-8 inches down, and loosen the dirt really well. Don’t worry about lumps and all, you can let the area sit over the winter, the gorund will be ready to plant in Spring.
    my zone for planting in StL is 5, and I know you can plant alot of things under zone 5. You will want to watch your areas for amount of sun and shade as most perennials are pretty particular to those specifics. Full sun means at least 6 hours….part sun is anything less than that. You can spend the winter planning your flowers so you don’t “impulse” buy! You can plan your colors, heights, textures, and blooming times. It would be fun to draw it out on paper. There are alot of gardening sites and plant shopping sites that have great info. Some of your plants can be ordered on line and you can save money and time. This may be alot more than what you were wanting to do, and you can modify it. The most important thing for success is knowing your plants and that comes from research.
    I have had to do alot of plants trial and error. Although the plant is zoned for your area sometimes they just don’t do well, so be patient, gardening is just that “trial and error” Good luck and have fun

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