Gardening in the fall can be a tough job. The volatile weather and temperatures in many regions can have all kinds of effects on your garden, from the quality of the soil to how much sun exposure it gets. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind when gardening in this difficult season.
Popular Fall Garden Plants
To start, here are just a few of the countless fall crops that are popular in home gardens. Keep in mind, you’ll need to plant these several weeks in advance of the first frost.
- Collard Greens
Make sure to research the best times and climates in which to plant your crops before you dig in!
Tip 1: Buy Plants & Seeds in the Fall to Save Money
In the fall, the larger home and hardware retailers will begin to clear out their inventory to avoid maintaining a nursery over the winter. This means that you’ll enjoy enormous discounts on starter plants and seeds. Stock up for next season while the prices are at an annual low!
Check out our feature on the Top 5 Tips for Gardening on a Budget to save yourself even more money on your fall garden!
Tip 2: Build a Wind Barrier
In most places, the fall weather brings with it gusty winds and storms. This puts your sensitive new plants at risk of becoming injured, sometimes beyond the point of saving.
Don’t let mother nature ruin your hard work. Your local hardware store will have everything you need to install an inexpensive (but highly effective) wind barrier for your fall garden. You can get everything you’ll need online or at your local hardware store, and there are several options to choose from, even wind-resistant plants themselves!
Tip 3: Don’t See Weeds? They Can Still Appear in the Fall!
There’s a common misconception that weeds will stop plaguing your garden as the winter weather slowly approaches. It’s true that many common weeds can’t survive the cool fall temperature. But just as you can grow succulent, attractive crops in the fall, so can mother nature sprout annoying weeds.
Chickweed, deadnettle, pokeweed, stiltgrass, and hairy bitercriss all do just fine in the fall. Keep your eyes peeled and pull weeds in the fall just as you would in the spring and summer. What else can you do? Prepare your lawn in the fall to avoid winter weeds from sprouting and taking over your garden come springtime.
Tip 4: Find the Sunny Spot
In the fall, the days get shorter, and thus sunlight is less available for your garden. Depending on the location of your home and the orientation of your yard, this can severely limit your fall gardening options.
On a sunny day, try to get a feel for the spots on your lawn that get the most exposure to the sun. You could do this by setting up a time lapse camera all day and watching to see which areas are sun-covered for the longest periods of time. It’s in these spots that you’ll want to plant your fall crops.
Tip 5: Protect Your Plants from the Cold
The cold is one of the biggest threats to your garden in the fall. Once that frost hits, many plants can’t survive. Under 45 degrees, you should bring any potted plants inside, thoroughly water before temps drop, and even cover over your more delicate crops with a cardboard box and an outdoor space heater. Additionally, mulching your garden can help trap the heat underground, and will even help to retain water.
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