Friday, October 28, 2011
Gardenin' with Gertie - Fall is for Planting
Goo’day all, Gertie Geoduck here! My Snooterville Junction neighbors seem to think I know a thing or two about gardening and have asked me to share the ‘wealth’, or at least some of my tips and techniques. So, I’ve finally agreed to contribute to the Snooter-doin’s blog somewhat regularly, just in case you’re interested too.
Fall has fallen, and winter is not too far away. This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs – almost better than spring! Why, you ask? Plant roots grow anytime soil temperatures are 40 degrees or above. In the fall, our soils here in the PNW are still warm enough from the heat (however so briefly) of the summer, AND, we have the benefit of our infamous PNW rain, which provides natural (and free) irrigation.
During the winter months, the root systems of fall-planted material develop and become established. Then, when spring does return (sometimes later than never), those well-developed root-systems can support and take advantage of a full surge of spring growth. Plants with well developed root systems are better able to manage the stresses of summer heat and drought. There is also potentially less stress caused by insect and disease pest issues during the fall and into the cooler winter months.
The best time to plant in the fall is roughly six weeks before the first hard frost, which does not always correlate here in Snooterville Junction with the autumnal equinox of late September. It is also important to buy healthy plants. Get to know your local, independent garden center or nursery. You’ll most often get better service from their professional and knowledgeable (and often certified) staff while the prices are still quite competitive. Another benefit to fall planting is that you can get some Snooter-dooper deals at those local nurseries and garden centers as they are rotating inventory and making way for holiday displays.
There’s so much to share, I’m just planting the seed. I’ll be back with some more ideas and tips – if you have any questions, please post a comment here. And, I highly recommend that you attend the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle next February to see the Snooter-abulous display gardens, partake in the informative seminars, and to shop at the inspiring marketplace booths (we’ll be there!).