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Fall is Great for Planting
you've always thought the best time for planting is in the spring and
although you've probably heard that fall is great for planting you're
not sure you believe it. Here's why fall really is a good
time for planting:
cooler temperatures are easier on the plants and the gardener. The
soil is still warm which allows roots to grow until the ground freezes.
In the spring, the plants' growth is often hindered by cold soil
addition to cooler temperatures, the weather is more predictable.
Remember how cold and rainy it was last May? It was nearly impossible
to plant then!
pest and disease problems are reduced in the fall. The colder
night time temperatures hinder insects and microbial diseases allowing
the plants to become established before they must fight off an
infection. Rabbits and deer, however, are hungry and can be menacing to
your plants at this time of year.
trees and shrubs are naturally focused on root development at this time
of year. Fall is really ideal for trees and shrubs - in the spring they
are already set in place and ready to go when it gets warm. Evergreens
will require supplemental watering over the winter if you plant them
now and if you plant a tall tree, it will need careful staking.
bulbs and many biennial plants need a period of cold dormancy.
We plant them in the fall so they have a cool-down
more good reason: bargain time at the garden centers! Because they'd
rather sell it than have to nurse it along all winter, the garden
centers mark down much of their remaining stock.
window for fall planting is closing. My ideal is to have
everything I'm going to plant in the ground by October 15th. This gives
the plants just enough time to settle in before the soil freezes
When the weather turns cold enough to freeze, you can expect to get a frost warning email from me.
Fall Clean-up Service
I believe we'll have a few more weeks of pleasant weather, I want
to remind you that I offer a fall clean up service to clean out
and protect your containers for the winter. When you are ready to have
your containers cleared up, contact me
or give me a call at (970) 988-3808 to schedule.
What I'm doing in my yard...
Planting and transplanting
perennials. I'm not one to rearrange the furniture, but I've rearranged
plants more than a few times! I'm dividing Irises
and Daylilies; moving plants that are crowded or shaded by
the trees; and planting a few more I got on discount. Let me know if you'd like some Iris rhizomes.
spring-blooming bulbs. I love tulips but so do rabbits. I am
loathe to feed those vermin so I don't plant tulips. Daffodils, on
the other hand, are poisonous to rabbits so they've become my new
cucumbers, green beans, apples and raspberries. I also planted my fall
crop of cool season vegetables: radishes, lettuce, spinach and swiss
pavers around the edge of the garden bed. I couldn't decide what I
wanted to do with the space around the raised bed, so it sat as bare
dirt for two years. I decided I wanted a flat surface I can
sweep clean and which won't get muddy. My husband, Cal, and I
have laid flagstone before but this was our first time putting in
cement pavers. Turns out, they're much easier to work with than natural
stone and I love the random pattern we put down! Also, I'm excited not
to have to weed this area next year!
What I should be doing in my yard...
Turning/harvesting the compost pile.
Here's a picture of my compost pile so that you can understand why this
isn't getting done. The bed is a triangle with 8-foot sides. The front
panel can be removed so you can rake everything off the top and then
shovel it back again. I have been piling yard waste and kitchen scraps
on the pile for at least 5 years without turning or harvesting it.
Really, I should get this done to make room for when the trees
drop their leaves. The compost pile isn't pretty but it also doesn't
smell bad. Since my purpose for it is waste diversion not compost
production, I think it's working perfectly.
the bark mulch. In areas where the mulch has gotten thin in the
perennial beds, I should add more. A good, thick layer of bark mulch
helps to mitigate temperature fluctuations in the soil over the winter.
I don't remove old mulch, I just add more on top.
the turf grass with a winterizing mix. If you're only going to
fertilize the turf grass once a year, this is the time to do it as it
really encourages good root growth.
Reducing the water to the tomatoes to get them to ripen. If they
don't ripen before the frost, they can be placed in a paper bag for a
few days. Adding an apple to the bag helps ripens them
faster. This happens because ripe and rotting fruit generate
ethylene and the presence of this gas makes nearby fruit
ripen faster. Thus the saying "one bad apple ruins the barrel" is
|If you have questions about what you're doing or what you should be doing, ask me! I won't pretend I have all the answers, but I always like to talk about plants!