a trowel in dirt with fall bulbs

Any good gardener knows that fall is the best time for planting. It allows the roots to mature prior to getting chilly, making your plant that much stronger come spring.

Planting in the fall is an advantage because the soil is still warm, which encourages root development. The cooler evenings and cooler autumn days will slow down the loss of moisture. New plantings won’t dry out as quickly, as in the intense sun of spring and summer. The moisture that is available provides slow growing roots with plenty of water. When you plant in the fall you’re establishing those roots, so they will be less prone to damage, and more ready for their spring surge of top growth.

Fall & Winter Veggies

beets being pulled from the garden
  • An excellent solution for keeping the tilth and fertility of your garden’s soil at peak levels.
  • PNW winters are usually not severe enough to damage carefully mulched winter vegetables.
  • The key is knowing the average date of the first killing frost in your region. (Late October) Then plant your winter crops early enough (usually August) to let them reach their full maturity before that killing frost.

Early Maturing Crops

  • Rootcrops – beets, radish, carrot
  • Leafcrops – lettuce, kale

Lawns

Fertilizing a lawn with a spreader

Fall is the best time of year for reseeding and refertilizing your lawn. Fall is best because the soil temperatures are warmer. They have had all summer to heat up, and this along with our frequent rains helps the seeds germinate quickly. The faster the seed germinates, the lawn becomes more established, and the less competition it has with weeds. The cool air temperatures also allow the young lawn to grown strong without the threat of the heat stress.

Fertilize

  • One fall application with either a synthetic (Scott’s® Turf Builder) or organic (Espoma® Lawn Fertilizer)
  • The nutrients will change into carbohydrates which improve the root system in your lawn.
  • Like with the other fall plantings promoting root growth in the fall will help create a stronger healthier lawn for the next year.
  • Fall and winter fertilizers are formulated to feed your lawn without causing a lot of blade growth.
  • If moss is a problem, make sure to use a fertilizer with moss control. (Scott’s ® Turf Builder).

Air it Out

  • Aeration is one simple thing you can do for you lawn each year to help it grow lush.
  • Removes compaction of soil
  • Allows for better water percolation
  • Allows fertilizers to reach root zone
  • Plugs allow microbes to decompose thatch

Control Weeds

  • Broadleaf weeds like clover and dandelions are in the same mode as your lawn, developing roots.
  • Spray when temps are in the mi-50s or warmer
  • Bayer® Advanced All-In-One Weed Killer for lawns or Ortho® Products

Mow

  • Mowing the lawn shorter in the fall encourages rhizome development which will thicken the lawn and help choke out weeds…also allows more light, preventing moss.
  • Begin September and continue through October.
  • Gradually reduce the height so as not to stress out your lawn when the temps become cooler.

Over Seed It

  • Weed invasions, and not enough sunlight will cause your lawn to thin out in areas.
  • Simply spread seed over your existing lawn, after de-thatching & “roughing up” the surface.
  • Lightly sprinkle some fresh grass seed over the area and cover with a thin layer of compost, fine potting soil, or coconut coir.
  • Make sure to use the appropriate seed for the sun exposure in that area.
  • It’s a good idea to lightly over seed your entire lawn to keep it looking uniform.
  • Should be done at a rate of 3.5-5 pounds per 100 sq ft.

Bulbs

yellow daffodils in spring bloom

We often don’t think of bulbs until we see them blooming in the spring, but to get those beautiful flowers we need to do little work in the fall. Research the best time to plant depending on region. Planting is simple, and can be layered in the soil of a container with other annuals on top!

  • Dig a hole 3-4 times deeper than the bulb height
  • Set bulbs firmly in place, following spacing guidelines
  • Sprinkle in a fertilizer made for bulbs such as Espoma® Bulb Tone
  • Cover with soil
  • Water thoroughly

So, if it’s a beautiful spring garden you are working towards, make sure to spend time in your garden now for the best results.