Getting Ready for Fall!
In late summer the tendency is to slow down our gardening efforts. We harvest from our veggie gardens, but with the days getting shorter and kids returning to school, our gardens aren’t quite the high priority they were earlier in the season.
But transitioning from summer to fall can be incredibly rewarding, and I’d hate for you to miss the opportunity of enjoying the unique joys of this season - not to mention getting your bulbs in for spring. (More on that later)
Here are some items that you should think about as summer turns to fall:
Flowers and Edibles
First, there’s the maintenance you need to do for your late blooming annuals. Deadheading flowering plants will help encourage those last few blooms.
Then it’s time to transition to those flowers that will love the cooler temps we’ll be getting in the coming weeks: mums and asters. But don’t forget those spring favorites, hardy pansies and violas, which make a return appearance in the fall.
You can also still harvest from your veggie garden as well. Cool season vegetables like arugula, broccoli, spinach, kale, onions and radishes will germinate within 30 days and can stand a light frost. (If you are planning to grow from seed, however, you need to find out the growth rate and calculate how much time you have before the first frost. Stop in at Warner’s and our friendly staff can help you find which veggies are best for a fall harvest in your area’s microclimate).
Trees & Shrubs
The biggest benefit for planting trees and shrubs in the fall is the combination of warm soil and cool air that late summer and early autumn provide. It’s perfect for stimulating root growth, which means your tree or shrub will be well established before the ground freezes. Additionally, at this time of year, the earth is wonderfully saturated from the monsoon rains, which encourages deep root growth. There’s also less up-front care required when you plant this time of year because your tree will soon go into dormancy.
Here’s a few tips for planting your new tree or shrub:
When you are planting, make sure the hole you dig is about twice the width of the root ball of your shrub or tree and equally as deep. (It’s better to plant it a little above ground level than too deep.)
Don’t just fill it with the soil from your garden – amend it with something like Warner’s Supreme Planting Mix to make sure it provides your new plant with the nutrients it needs. Place some of the amended soil in the bottom of your hole as well.
Water your plant thoroughly before you place it in the hole.
Remember to remove any wire on the root ball or to fold back the burlap so that you expose the trunk and about four inches of soil.
You can add some fertilizer tablets, but make sure that they don’t touch the root system of your plant.
Don’t forget the mulch. It will help conserve moisture, prevent weeds and maintain moderate soil temperatures.
Once your tree or shrub is in the ground, prevent transplant shock and promote root growth by watering thoroughly with a root stimulator.
Plant Bulbs now for Spring Blossoms
Lastly, there is one more thing you should be planting next month, although you won’t get to see the results until next year: bulbs.
If you want tulips, crocuses, hyacinth, irises, and daffodils next spring, you need to get their bulbs in the ground this fall. I can’t tell you how often we get people in March asking if we have daffodils they can plant.
Your optimal time to plant is late September through October. The cool night temperatures prevent the bulbs from rotting and the coming winter will guarantee your bulbs get the necessary chill needed to bloom in spring.
Bulbs need at least partial sun and well-draining soil. If your soil is mostly clay, amend it with planting mix. Dig a hole about three times the size of the bulb. So large bulbs like tulips or daffodils will need to be about 8 inches deep and other, smaller bulbs will be planted about four inches deep. Always make sure your bulb’s “nose” (the pointy end) is facing up out of the hole.
We hope you enjoyed the end of summer and the beginning of fall, one of my favorite seasons. And whether it’s placing some bulbs for spring or planting a new tree, any excuse to be outside gardening during this beautiful season is a good thing!
If you need any help extending your garden for summer or getting ready for fall, please call or visit Warner’s Nursery - we are here to help!