Say bye-bye to summer and give the autumn a big ol’ hug! The first day of fall has come and gone and it seems that Mother Nature sent a memo to the temperatures to take a dip and stay until further notice. Looking out the window at the leaves changing color and gracefully floating to the ground, it is easy to take a deep breath, get cozy and wind down for the season. Before you grab your favorite throw blanket and spiced cider, there are a few planting tasks to complete before you wrap up for the winter!
The temperatures are at their most comfortable, so now is the perfect time to do a little digging without sweating through your tee shirt and getting your hands in the dirt one last time before you pack your tools away. While the landscape is soon going to rest into a monochromatic coma, you can beat the cool-weather blues by planting pops of cool-weather color! Pansies, violas, aster and mums are a few vibrant examples of flowers that will spruce up your fading garden and flower pots, keeping your outdoor joy around a little longer. Maybe mums are a little too predictable for you, and you prefer something a little different in your garden…no problem! Plant a few cool-weather edibles amongst your fall-weather flowers to give your garden a kick of color and texture, while also providing some healthy color on your dinner plate.
Just because the chilly weather has moved in, doesn’t mean your edible garden is through. The fall extends your vegetable growing season if you switch out the warm season edibles for cool-weather vegetables. Planting at the first sign of autumn is optimal, so you can plant, grow and harvest all before the first frost takes place. Spinach, lettuce, cabbage and root vegetables like carrots and radishes are the perfect garden fill-ins because they provide something beautiful to look at and they grow rather quickly! A few other vegetables have a penchant for autumn frost, which helps in their growing cycle. Vegetables like chard, kale and turnips love the autumn frost and tend to taste better the colder it gets. These vegetables will add rich colored texture to your garden and make the fall weather tangible on your plate by bringing the fresh, crisp taste to your palette. There is something gratifying about growing your own food; it definitely tastes a lot better than anything with a bright orange tag from a price gun.
Next year’s garden may seem too far away to worry about, but if you take just a little bit of time in the fall to plant some bulbs, your spring-season self will end up giving your fall-season self a pat on the back. Get your spring bulbs ready, because it is time to give them a home! Allium, daffodil, crocus and tulips are great choices to get in the ground in the fall so they can establish their root systems before the temperatures dip too low. The bulbs will cycle through their chemical processes in the fall and winter, and when the temperatures perk up a bit, you will be able to see your successful spring sprouts pop up! The first sign of life in the garden is always the most refreshing. At this time, you can shake off the winter cobwebs, put away the shovels and start gearing up for another season of returning color, fresh blooms and enchanting wind-swept fragrance.
When you wrap up the last plantings of the season, you will feel better that everything is finally done and you will be able to enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your labor in the upcoming weeks and spring season. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy a hot toddy, because you deserve it for a job well done.
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