October 7, 2013 1:03 am
Most gardeners can't wait for spring to arrive so they can get outdoors and plant. But experts know fall is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs while tackling essential lawn care projects that will prepare your yard for a burst of growth next spring.
While soil temperatures remain warm - actually warmer than in the spring - air temperatures start to cool in the fall, creating the perfect setting to get outdoors and plant in pleasant, moderate weather. The cooler air temperatures also mean less stress during planting of trees and shrubs, while providing them a head start to develop root systems, acclimate and rest before spring's rush.
While fall offers the only time of year to plant spring-blooming bulbs, you don't have to wait until spring to add a burst of color to your yard. Pansies and mums thrive in abundance during autumn, complementing changing leaf colors in beautiful yellow, orange and red hues.
Also consider planting frost-tolerant vegetables in your garden such as:
Carrots: Try short or round varieties with rocky or heavy soil. Look for yellow, white, and purple selections for variety.
Beets: Known for their intense coloration, entire beet plants - roots and leaves - are edible. Try growing a sampling of striped, golden, and red beets. Beets can be roasted, pickled or sauteed.
Kale: Edible varieties of kale are just as hardy as their ornamental counterparts, which are widely used in pansy beds during winter. Try pretty "Red Russian" or tasty "Lacinato" for a calcium-packed treat.
Onions: An everyday kitchen ingredient, pungent onions are a garden staple. Whether growing white, yellow, or red, harvest early for immediate use or wait for bulbs to mature and dry them for storage.
Lastly, make sure your yard is able to withstand the stress of winter by maintaining lawn care in the fall. Start by aerating, which allows greater movement of water, fertilizer and air, to stimulate your lawn. Aeration also speeds the decomposition of grass clippings and enhances deep root growth. Then, apply the last main fertilizer feeding of the year and seed to avoid any bare spots in winter. Finally, lower your mower's deck for the last cutting to reduce disease potential during wet winter weather and to make raking leaves easier.
Published with permission from RISMedia.