I’M THINKING FALL
By: Gary Garner Sr.
It’s nearly ninety degrees and the sun is shining. Yes, its early August and summer gardens are still at peak production. Summer flowers are gorgeous. All the weather signs say its summer and it is. However, if we are going to have nice fall flowers and vegetables it is time to start planning and planting.
Fall plants will begin to arrive in mid-August. The first plants will be cold crops such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Mums will be next toward the end of the month. Pansies and fall perennials will then arrive in early September.
That does not mean that they must be planted immediately but many gardeners like to get a jump on the season. Gary’s is already receiving requests as to how soon the plants will be available.
When is the right time to plant for fall is a hard question to answer. If I wanted nice turnips, I would plant sooner rather than later. If all I wanted was greens, then I would probably wait and plant around the first of September. For cold crops, I would plant anytime from mid-August to late September.
Mums can go in as soon as the new plants arrive in the garden center. Mum plants will start to arrive in August and will be restocked several times well into September. Different color mums bloom at different time and the Growers delay bloom by pinching and controlling the light the plants receive.
I want to plant pansies as soon as the plants arrive, and I can get them in the ground. I know summer annuals are in full glory and you don’t want to disturb them. I know if it stays warm the pansies will stretch up and fall over. Both of those are problems we can overcome.
If the plants run up and fall over simply cut them back almost to the ground. They will then branch out and start new growth, thus making larger and nicer looking plants. I don’t like to disturb my summer annuals, but I do like to have nice large pots and clumps of pansies. If you wait until frost takes care of your summer annuals and then plant pansies, they will not have time to reach full maturity. While pansies will live throughout the winter, they do very little growing during cold weather. I try to plant my pansies early in and around my annuals or start my pansies in pots and later move them to beds.
All the above advice is based on normal fall weather. If the forecast is for unusually hot weather, I will delay my planting. If we get some early cool weather then I may plant a few days early. The same goes for extended rain forecasts. We cannot control Mother Nature, so it is best to try and work with her.
Fall will come. If you want a good harvest of fall vegetables, it’s time to start thinking and planning on what you will plant. Fall plants will be in stock soon. Be ready.
As always if you have questions ask the staff at Gary’s Garden Center.