Many people think of fall as the time to put your garden to bed or take a break from gardening, but fall is a great time to get a head start on your spring garden. Part of sustainable landscaping is planning your garden work so that it is personally sustainable for you. Getting a jump on your landscaping in the fall will save you a bunch of time in the spring when you will have more gardening tasks than time to do them.
If you want a winter vegetable garden, it might be kind of late, depending on your location. In many mild climates winter vegetables are planted in August and September for harvesting during the winter. I’m planting on a few winter greens on my patio, especially fast growing ones like mustard, chard, various chinese greens, and my favorite – arugula.
Things to plant now for your sustainable landscape:
- Bulbs – Tulips, daffodils, irises, crocuses. Bulbs can provide interest in your garden when other things aren’t blooming. Plant under trees or around roses.
- Garlic, onions, shallots – You can plant garlic, onions, and shallots in the spring, but you will get larger harvests next summer if you start them now.
- Shrubs, trees, and perennial herbs – Lots of nurseries are having sales right now, so it’s a good time to find deals on shrubs, trees, and perennial herbs. Just make sure that you have time to get your new babies settled in their beds before a hard frost. Planting in the fall allows plants to get their roots settled and growing a little over the fall and winter and get a jump-start on the spring.
- Covercrops – Leaving your garden beds bare all winter exposes your valuable soil to erosion. The last thing you want is for your topsoil to wash away. Cover crops help add nutrients to your soil as well as holding it in place throughout winter rains and snows.