Here’s to a bountiful harvest and reaping the rewards of a whole season’s worth of nurturing our gardens! Fall is, also, the time to figure out what to plant in the fall and for spring.
Plants to consider planting in the fall
However, it’s also time to think about what to plant for the cooler season that is coming. Typically, consider those fast turn-around, cool season crops that you can plant in the fall.
Fall is a wonderful time to engage in planting activities, as the cooler temperatures and increased moisture provide optimal conditions for plant establishment for certain plants. Here are some ideas for fall planting:
I like food! Don’t you? Though sometimes I wonder if my waistline agrees too much with my love of food – but I digress. Fall is the perfect time to plant cool-season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and radishes – to you know, encourage our love of food. These a lot of varieties of these crops thrive in the cooler temperatures of autumn and can be harvested well into winter in many regions (depending on how hard a frost you get).
Perennial plants include like mums, asters, and coneflowers. These hardy plants will not only add color to your garden in the fall but will also come back year after year.
Planting bulbs (Tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths) in the fall allows them to establish roots before the winter, resulting in beautiful blooms in the spring.
Add some texture, movement, and visual interest by adding ornamental grasses like switchgrass or feather reed grass to your garden throughout the fall season.
Fall is an excellent time to plant shrubs as they can focus on root development without the stress of extreme temperatures. Consider adding shrubs like burning bush, witch hazel, or viburnum to enhance the fall colors in your landscape.
Planting medicinal herbs in the fall can be a great way to ensure a bountiful supply of healing plants for the future. Here are some medicinal herbs that you can consider planting in the fall:
- Echinacea: Also known as coneflower, echinacea is renowned for its immune-boosting properties. Planting echinacea in the fall allows it to establish roots and grow stronger for the following year.
- Lavender: This aromatic herb is not only known for its calming scent but also for its medicinal properties. Fall planting gives lavender enough time to establish before winter.
- Chamomile: Chamomile is well-known for its calming effects and is often used in teas and herbal remedies. Planting chamomile in the fall allows it to develop a robust root system.
- Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a soothing herb often used to promote relaxation and improve sleep. Fall planting helps lemon balm establish sturdy roots for optimal growth.
- Sage: This herb has a long history of medicinal use and is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Fall planting allows sage to develop a strong foundation.
- Calendula: Calendula flowers have skin-soothing properties and are commonly used in salves and creams. Planting calendula in the fall gives it a head start in growth the following year.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is known for its refreshing flavor and digestive benefits. Fall planting ensures that it can establish roots and grow vigorously.
Remember to select herb varieties that are suitable for your climate and growing conditions. Before using any medicinal herbs, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist for proper guidance.
Preparing for Spring
Preparing for spring planting begins in the fall, ensuring a successful and bountiful gardening season. Here are some essential tasks to prioritize during the autumn months:
- Clearing the Garden Bed by removing any remaining plant debris, weeds, and spent crops from the garden bed. This prevents pests and diseases from overwintering and provides a clean slate for spring planting.
- Take a soil sample and send it to your local agricultural extension office for testing. This will help you understand the nutrient composition and pH level of your soil. Based on the results, you can make necessary amendments in the fall to optimize soil health for spring.
- Enrich your garden bed with organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold. These additions improve soil structure, enhance moisture retention, and provide essential nutrients for plant growth.
- Apply a layer of organic mulch, like straw or wood chips, to insulate the soil during the colder months. Mulching helps regulate soil temperature, suppresses weed growth, and prevents erosion. (If you want to read our adventure on the side effects of erosion, check out this blog post.
- Based on the soil test results, adjust the nutrient levels by incorporating appropriate organic amendments or fertilizers. This can include adding lime to raise pH levels or sulfur to lower pH levels, according to the recommendations of the soil test.
- Consider planting cover crops such as winter rye, clover, or oats. These plants protect the soil from erosion, suppress weed growth, and add organic matter when tilled into the soil in spring.
- Fall is an excellent time to plan your spring garden. Research and select the crops you want to grow, determine their planting requirements, and create a planting schedule.
- Clean and sharpen your gardening tools before storing them for the winter. Proper maintenance ensures they’ll be ready to use when spring arrives.
By taking these proactive steps in the fall, you’ll set the stage for a flourishing garden come springtime. Happy planting!