Whether you want to garden for color or vegetables, it’s still not too late to plant in your garden. There are many cool weather flowers and crops that will grow and thrive in the cooler weather. The trick is to know when your first hard frost date is for your area. Once you have that date, you can decide what to plant. For Northern climates, that can be as early as October, but in Southern climates it can be December.
For vegetables, you’ll want to stick with broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts; you can still get in some fast maturing summer squash, carrots, lettuce, radishes and green onions. Remember to keep your plants well-watered and mulched to conserve heat and moisture. Use seedlings for the slower growing plants like broccoli and Brussel sprouts to extend your season.
Plant perennial fruits and vegetables- These are the ones that you plant once, and they keep on giving year after year. Many of the berries fall into this category for fall planting, as well as asparagus, horseradish, artichokes, herbs and more. Check with your local garden supply center for varieties best suited to your area.
For decorative plants, there are so many beautiful flowers and shrubs available for fall.
Plant bulbs for Spring color -If you like the color of Spring bulbs, shop for them now, plant in the next month or so and have glorious flowers all Spring – with very little work! Tulips, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Ranunculus, there are so many beautiful bulbs that it’s almost mind boggling.
Pansies – Fall is the perfect time to plant some Pansies. They will quickly fill in their bed, and only need fertilizer occasionally. Easy color that’s a contrast to the fall leaves.
Mums – Mums, glorious mums…. there are so many colors, types, and sizes of mums, they are the perfect fall plant for gardens and containers. Plant large shrubs as an edge of color on a path, or in pots by the front door. Their bursts of color are always welcoming. It doesn’t hurt that their flowers and color last quite a while, too.
Trees and shrubs – many trees and shrubs do well with a fall planting. They will quietly build roots over the winter, and burst into life in the Spring. Check with your local garden supply center for varieties suited to your area.
Container Gardens – Container gardens can keep your green thumb alive for many weeks past the first hard frost. The trick is to plant varieties suited to container planting, and protect them if there is a mean frost predicted. A heavy plastic bag can work wonders to protect container plants – cover them at night, and when the temperature rises the next day, remove the bag.
Another advantage of container gardening is that you can combine decorative plants with edibles, such as mums with some herbs, or pansies with your cuttable lettuce garden. While you are trimming some lettuce for tonight’s dinner salad, you can admire those pretty pansies; and since they are edible, too, you can even include a few blossoms in your salad.
But you should also consider other jobs for your Fall garden. Now is the perfect time to take on some of those labor intensive projects you’ve been putting off because the weather was too hot. Build a pathway, make some raised beds for next spring, or clean out old dead plantings. Now is the perfect time, before it gets too cold, to clean the deck and barbeque, rake the leaves, make a compost bin, or install irrigation.
Fall is the perfect time to spruce up your yard – it’s cooler to work outside, and there are a myriad of colors and plants that are available in the marketplace. Don’t be limited by anything but your imagination.