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Fall Back to Basics: What/How to Plant & Prep

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From the ground up:

Soil preparation for fall planting

  • When planting in containers, choose a good quality potting soil or container mix. Some may have a slow release fertilizer in them.
  • When planting in established beds, refresh soil with compost, bed builder, soil conditioner, etc.
  • When starting new flower beds or vegetable beds, start with bed builder, add compost, peat moss, and slow release fertilizers like manure, bone & blood meal, cottonseed meal, kelp meal or Osmocote.
  • When planting single trees or shrubs, mix soil taken from the planting hole and mix in compost. Plant tree/shrub on a mound; use soil/compost underneath the root ball and around it. Mulch well.
  • Always mulch your plants well. It will help with moister retention, soil temperature fluctuations (keeps soil temperatures cooler in summer/warmer in winter) and controls weeds.

Caring for plants in the fall

  • Insect and disease problems are minimal in fall and winter.
  • A few things to watch for are: Cabbage worms on fall veggies; scale insects on hollies, camellias and citrus trees.
  • On vegetables use bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad.
  • Scale insects can be controlled with horticultural oil sprays.

Some favorite plants for fall

  • Early fall color: crotons; mums; ornamental peppers; ornamental cabbage & kale; marigolds; petunias; Swiss chard; red mustard; lobelia; calendulas; gaillardia
  • Fall & winter color: pansies; violas; snapdragons; petunias; alyssum; calendulus ; leaf plants like ornamental cabbage & kale; colorful lettuces; chard
  • Perennial color for fall: perennial salvias; hamelia (Texas fire bush); gaillardia; buddleia; firespike; lantana; rudbeckia
  • Fall & winter vegetables: cabbage; broccoli; cauliflower; Brussel sprouts; radish; carrot; turnip; spinach; lettuce; beets; chard; arugula; endive; celery
  • Cool season herbs: parsley; cilantro; dill; fennel; rosemary; thyme; mint; cutting celery
  • Fruit trees/shrubs: apple; peach; pear; plum; fig; pomegranate; persimmon; mayhaw; blueberry; citrus
  • Fruiting vines: grapes; muscadines; blackberry; raspberries
  • Cold hardy trees/shrubs: maples; oaks; birch; holly; azalea; camellia, etc.