Fall is my favorite time to work in the garden. The days are cooler, making it the perfect time to plan and implement some projects to ensure a beautiful landscape for the following year.
Array of blooms
Plant lots of flowering pansies and violas around the first of October. They come in lots of colors, ranging from solid to shades of softer pastels. Combine colors that work well with each other. A suggestion is yellow or orange blooms combined with purple or maroons. White and blue pansies are also a striking combo.
Pansies require full sun and good drainage. Plant them on raised beds full of good organic matter worked into the soil about a foot deep. Broadcast 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 2 cups per 100 square feet over the bed and in the soil.
Many gardening stores and nurseries will have them in stock soon. If planted correctly, the cold weather annual will keep you happy through the winter months.
September and October is a great time to plant flowering perennials as well.
If you like spring bulbs to bloom, select a good choice for the fall and get them in the ground by December. Make sure the site has adequate sunlight, about 6-10 hours. Mix them with new plantings of perennials and annuals for a nice combo. Plant daffodils, hyancinth, crocus or tulips. Don’t forget to mark where you planted the bulbs. Golf tees are a great marker.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruiting trees are a favorite for a lot of people. They are a delicious way to add beauty and flavor to your landscape.
It is a must to start on the right path when planting fruit trees since they require year-round maintenance.
Start with young trees, about a year old. Plant them in a sunny location in loamy, well-drained soil two times the size of the root ball.
Backfill the hole with the soil you dug up. Always plant the graft union just above ground level and tap backfill soil firmly around the root ball to smooth out air pockets.
To make sure you know the right time to prune, fertilize and spray for insect and disease problems, check with extension office. It has fruiting trees’ maintenance schedules, which is essential in establishing a healthy fruit tree.
Plant leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collards, turnips, kale, cabbage and many types of lettuces.
By the end of September, most of these delicious greens should be transplanted into the garden. Plant them in large containers and keep them close to the kitchen for easy access. You can also plant them in containers as ornamentals and mix in pansies, violas or snapdragons to add color to a stark patio or deck in the winter.
Lawn care, leaf disposal
Fertilization and weed control are other important factors to consider in the fall.
September is good time to fertilize a fescue lawn. Broadcast your pre-emergent winter weed control for fescue lawns this month then overseed next month.
But not to worry, falling leaves will cover the lawn soon.
If you don’t like raking and bagging leaves, recycle them by mowing them up and using them around the bases of your trees, shrubs and garden beds. Incorporate some of them into your fall vegetable garden for rich humus by next spring.
Fall is a great time to get out and enjoy gardening! It is the best time to plant all of your favorite perennials, shrubs and trees! They require less water and are less likely to suffer from drought related stress if planted in the fall.
Wanda Cannon serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact her at 770-535-8293 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears biweekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.