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.