Fall planting ideas: How to extend your gardening season
I’m guilty. Here in Northeast Ohio, I start the planting season with a bang, but by the time early September rolls around my garden is reduced to a few remaining tomatoes and peppers. Then the ho-hum gardening doldrums roll in for Fall since the fun color is gone and the yard looks dried out. Extend your gardening fun and your yard’s beauty by viewing fall as a time to plant, harvest, re-plant and re-think your garden. Here are a few ideas to keep the color and harvest going even as nights become colder:
Plant Cool Season Vegetables
Plant a second (or third) round of spring greens including spinach, kale, swiss chard, leaf lettuce and arugula. These are all fast growers and like the cooler fall temperatures. Root vegetables are also a good fall crop since they mature quickly. Include radishes, beets, and turnips in your replanted fall gardens.
Plant Cool Season Annuals for Fall Color
Even though pansies are considered by some to be for spring planting, they and their viola cousins are colorful and hardy for cooler fall temperatures as well. Ornamental kale, cabbage and edible Swiss Chard (especially the “Bright Lights” variety) make beautiful and colorful additions to your fall garden. Mums, the colorful fall favorite, are best planted in spring and cut back until ready to show their colors in the fall, but are also beautiful in pots and planters for portable color. Sweet alyssum, asters, sedum, snap dragon, dianthus and cornflower are all great to plant in the fall as well.
Divide and Plant Bulbs for Spring Color
Plant and divide popular daffodils, hyacinths, alliums, crocuses and tulips. These bulbs all need a long winter’s sleep to store up energy for a beautiful blooming spring! These are a few of the more popular bulbs, but there are many more spring blooming varieties. Get creative and investigate all of the spring blooming bulbs. Note: don’t plant the bulbs until the nighttime temps drop to 50 or below. Otherwise, the soil will be too warm and may force early blooming.
Clean, Prune, and Nourish Your Garden Beds
Even though many wait until spring to prepare for fresh plantings, Fall is a really great time to prepare your garden beds in order to simplify the next planting season. Work in soil amendments like manure, compost, bone meal, kelp and rock phosphate. Clean-up spent plant debris, prune perennials, remove rotting plants and weeds. Add an insulating topper such as leaf compost, or traditional garden mulch to prepare root vegetables and other plants for the coming cold season.
Enjoy that Fall Garden!