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What To Plant In Autumn

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What To Plant In Autumn

Fall is a season of change, and for gardeners, it’s a prime opportunity to revitalise our outdoor spaces. While many may think of autumn as a time of winding down, for the green-thumbed among us, it’s the launch pad for a successful spring. In fact, planting in the fall is crucial for ensuring plant establishment before the cold sets in and for encouraging a robust growth come next year.

Whether you have a large garden or simply a few pots on a city windowsill, autumn is a season full of potential that should not be overlooked. Read our guide to what you should be planting this autumn if you want to set your garden up for success.

The Importance of Autumn Planting for Garden Success

 Gardeners often associate planting with spring and summer, but the cool, moist conditions of autumn are uniquely conducive to root growth. When you plant in the fall, the energy reserves of your plants are directed towards root development rather than foliage, which means they have a much stronger chance of surviving the winter and blooming beautifully in the spring.

Early autumn, in particular, is a great time to get perennials, shrubs, and trees in the ground, giving them a head start on establishing themselves before the frosty weather arrives. Additionally, establishing a healthy root system during the fall ensures that your plants can take full advantage of the moisture and nutrients available in the soil. This will keep them strong and healthy, making them more resistant to pests, diseases, and the stresses of the coming summer months.

Best Plants to Consider for Your Autumn Garden

Fall Flowers

For a burst of color, consider planting autumn-blooming perennials and bulbs. Plants like chrysanthemums, asters, and goldenrods are not only beautiful but also provide essential nectar for late-season pollinators. Bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and crocuses should be planted before the ground freezes, allowing them to establish roots and bloom in the spring.

Cool-Season Vegetables

Autumn is the perfect time to grow cool-season vegetables. Crops like spinach, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard thrive in the cooler temperatures and can often tolerate a light frost. Remember to start your seeds or plant your seedlings early in the season to allow them to reach maturity before the winter sets in.

Herbs and Aromatics

Autumn is an excellent time to grow herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and chives, which can be sown directly into the ground. These plants will establish themselves before the frosts and you can enjoy their fresh flavor well through the season.

Planting Techniques and Tips

Soil Preparation

Prepare your soil by removing any dead plant material, weeds, and rocks from the area you intend to plant. Loosen the soil and add compost to improve its structure and fertility. Good soil preparation is essential for strong root development, which is the focus of autumn planting.

Watering Schedule

Keep an eye on the weather and water your plants if it’s been a dry autumn. Although the season tends to be wet, ensuring your new plantings have adequate water is vital for their establishment. Aim for a deep soaking less frequently rather than shallow watering every day.

Frost Protection

If a frost is forecast and you have tender plants, cover them with a frost cloth or an old sheet. Be sure to anchor the covers so they don’t come loose in the wind. Also, water your plants beforehand; hydrated plants are less likely to suffer from frost damage.

Seasonal Maintenance

Pruning

Pruning in the fall is vital for the health of many plants, such as roses. Remove spent flowers and any dead or diseased portions, and consider cutting back perennials if they’re getting too tall. Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs like lilacs and forsythia; instead, wait until after they bloom.

Mulching

Mulch is like a warm blanket for your plants. Spread a layer around your plantings to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Organic mulch also feeds the soil as it breaks down over time.

Pest Control

Fall is a good time to act on pest problems that have lingered through the warmer months. Spraying neem oil on plants can help prevent overwintering of common pests, and bait can be laid down for slugs and snails.

Urban Homesteading Tips

Don’t have a traditional garden space? No problem. Urban homesteaders can still make the most of the autumn planting season with a few adjustments.

Container Gardening

Use containers to grow your plants in a small space. Choose large enough pots for good root development and be sure they have drainage holes. You can grow a variety of plants, from decorative flowers to fresh herbs and even some vegetables.

Vertical Gardening

Make use of walls, fences, and balconies with vertical gardening. This can be done with trellises, hanging baskets, or specially designed wall planters. These methods not only save space but also create a stunning visual display

Cultivating a Legacy of Growth

With a little planning and preparation, your autumn garden can be a testament to the potential of the season. The plants you choose to grow now will not only brighten your surroundings in the immediate future but will also pave the way for a bountiful and beautiful garden next year. By taking the time to plant in the fall, you’re investing in the longevity and health of your garden. So why wait until next spring? Grab your gardening tools and some seeds, and get started on your autumn planting to enjoy the full cycle of growth and beauty that nature has to offer.