Fall, as I’ve said before, is probably my favorite time of year. I enjoy the processes involved with closing down the garden, the cooler weather, and the changes in the leaves. It’s also a great time to garden with its own set of unique challenges. For planting trees, shrubs, and bulbs there is no better time than autumn. For growing the best tasting greens with high flavor content, again, there is no better time than autumn. It’s a fun time of year with falling leaves raked into piles (who doesn’t like jumping into one of those?), fall festivals, carving pumpkins, and delicious apple cider. It is an ideal season for so many things.
As they say, getting there is half the fun. Watching the changes take place and doing the tasks involved is all part of the process of enjoying fall. In the garden it is easy to see the changes. Beyond the changing leaves is the fall flower color display. Goldenrod and ironweed begin to color the wild fields with purple and gold. Remember goldenrod is not what causes your fall allergies, it’s the wind pollinated plants like ragweed that bloom simultaneously with the goldenrod.
The coneflowers are still pumping our purple blooms but will soon be produce lots of seed for finches and other birds to enjoy this fall and winter. What they miss will become new plants next spring after a good cold winter for stratification.
The fall vegetable garden is started with seedlings of radish and kale. Fall planting of vegetables can be challenging. Often when it is the ideal time to plant it is too hot for good germination. Bugs can present a challenge as well as they voraciously devour what they can as they begin their overwintering processes. While these are challenges, overcoming them will bring you loads of delicious greens in the fall and (if protected in harsh winter climates) through the winter. In my garden I have radishes and kale that sprouted well while partially shaded by a cucumber vine. Shading you seedlings is one way to overcome the heat issue.
Fall is also about the harvest, as I’m sure this orb weaver spider would tell you. It’s time to gather and store the produce we’ve grown over the summer so that we can enjoy it through the winter. Whatever your garden brings you this fall be sure to enjoy the process. Take time to observe the little things and harvest those as well. Store and save them in your mind to enjoy over the cold bleak days of winter.