Gardening in the fall is the best time of the year for many projects. The weather is cooler (mostly), the night time temperatures are getting down into the 60’s or lower and many bugs are flying south or going into dormancy. But best of all bargains are to be had at the nurseries and garden centers as they are marking down plants to lower winter inventory.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Shrubs and roses are best planted in the fall because the roots have time to develop a good system without the stress of the high temperatures. Plants need less water due to the lower temperatures.
- It is a good time to reevaluate the home landscape to take out those plants that have grown too large or are on their way out.
- Plant a few perennials such as pansies, snapdragon, and ornamental kale that thrive in the cooler temperatures and will make it through. They also look great in containers.
- Time to put in 3 to 4 inches of mulch to protect plants during the winter, keeps water from evaporating and soil temperatures cool and protects the base of plants during freezing temperatures.
- Amend your soil with organic materials such as dropped fall leaves, pine needles, any composted materials, vegetable scraps (no meat) or coffee grounds. It is not necessary to turn all this over because it will work its way into the soil over the winter.
- Spread any wild flower seeds including bluebonnet because they need that time in the soil in order to germinate in the spring.
- Plant vegetables in flower beds for food as well as decoration. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, kales and any green including
spinach and lettuce. They will thrive in the cooler days and nights.
- Plant a tree as long it is in a container. Wait to move any tree, shrub or rose until January when they are dormant. Be sure you dig enough a whole to take it out and twice as big to put it back in.
- Kill a patch of weeds, grasses or anything you don’t want by sterilizing the soil. Plot the area, put down clear plastic and hold it down with rocks, 2×4’s, or anything that will keep the plastic from moving in wind. The sun will shine through, heat up the soil underneath and basically cook everything in the soil. Do this in the fall and next spring you will have a great new bed for gardening.
- Take cuttings of roses, succulents, geraniums or purple Jew to root over the winter and to plant next spring for information on how to take cuttings go to Texas A&M AgriLife website.