What To Plant In Fall: Autumn Garden Guide
Though fall is known as a time of harvest, it can also be the perfect season to plant. With blistering summer heat fading, and the increase in rainfall, autumn is a great time to start new sprouts. Certain flowers and vegetables can be planted in your garden during the first weeks of fall, and are a great way to liven up an otherwise dull winter yard. Here are some of the top flowers and vegetables to plant in your garden this autumn.
You will need to determine the average "first frost date" for your area to plan the precise time to plant vegetables in the fall. Seed company, Victory Seeds, provides a state-by-state (and Canadian) list of the first and last frost dates on their website: http://www.victoryseeds.com/frost/.
Spinach: Spinach seeds should be planted about five weeks before the first frost in your area. Once the spinach has had time to grow and establish its roots throughout the fall, it should last well into 20 F temperatures. Expect the spinach to be fully mature after approximately 45 days.
Lettuce: Plant lettuce seeds in late summer to early fall. While they should not require much maintenance, water them frequently and protect them from constant, direct sunlight. Expect the lettuce to mature in approximately 50 days.
Broccoli: Broccoli seeds should be planted about 10 weeks before the first frost. Use mulch to provide moisture and shade if the weather in your area is still hot at this point. Re-mulch three weeks after planting, then expect the broccoli to mature after another 50 days.
Cabbage: Cabbage seeds should be planted about seven weeks before the first frost. If your local weather is still extremely hot, be sure to protect the seeds from constant, direct sunlight by using a fair amount of mulch during planting. Expect the cabbage to mature in approximately 70 days.
Cauliflower: Plant cabbage seeds about seven weeks before your first frost. This plant may require a moderate amount of maintenance, and should be well watered and mulched. To prevent bitter or discolored vegetables, tie the leaves of the plant over the cauliflower heads once they have grown to be two inches wide. Expect the cauliflower to mature after approximately 60 days.
Planting flower bulbs in the fall allows the plants enough time to form solid root systems before the soil freezes in winter. By spring, the bulbs should be fully grown and blooming. When you purchase bulbs, select only large, firm bulbs as they are the most likely to produce healthy flowers. Here are some of the best flower varieties to plant in the fall.
Tulips: Plant tulip bulbs in loose soil and moderate sun exposure. The bulbs should be placed approximately six inches into the soil, and watered once per month before they have bloomed, and once a week after they have bloomed.
Daffodils: Plant daffodil bulbs about seven weeks before the first frost in your area, in moderate sunlight. It is best to wait until the soil temperature is near or below 60 F. When planting, dig a hole three times taller than the height of the bulb. Only water if there is insufficient rainfall, and re-mulch once per year.
Chrysanthemums: Mums can be planted from seeds, which should be placed in a deep hole in loose soil. Place them in an area of your garden with full sunshine. Mix in mulch when planting, and once a month afterwards.
Aster: Plant asters in moderate sunlight, with moist soil. Asters can be planted from seed, or bought already grown in a pot, and re-planted in the garden. Once per year, add a thin layer of mulch around the plant, and water regularly during hotter temperatures.
Grape hyacinth: Plant hyacinth bulbs in moderate sunlight and in an area where you won't mind them eventually spreading, as they can become invasive once fully grown. Plant in loose soil, about twice as deep as the bulb's height. Expect the hyacinth to sprout leaves just before winter, then bloom by spring.
Certain bulbs and seeds are perfect for fall planting, and can provide just as much outdoor time as spring and summer gardening. Whether you prefer an edible vegetable garden, or a beautiful spring flower garden, planting in fall is a great way to keep your yard colorful and functional in autumn.