Even before your region sees the final blast of winter, you can start planting a vegetable garden. Plant snow peas first; seeds can go in the ground four to six weeks before the final frost and be harvested in 60 days. Once the threat of a final freeze has passed, continue on to plant radishes, lettuce, and kale, SmartPots suggests; you can usually sow ungerminated seeds and harvest delicious fresh foodstuffs within a month. “Planting early spring vegetables brings both sanity to the winter-weary gardener and homegrown goodness to the kitchen,” the story says.
An uptick in vegetable gardening that occurred last year as COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect seems set to repeat this year. Now’s the time to start the seeds of a pandemic victory garden, since germinating plants hardy enough to transplant can take six to eight weeks. Gardeners will be rewarded with fresh food and a new sense of security, Rose Hayden-Smith, food historian and author of Sowing the Seeds of Victory, told HuffPost: “It’s helpful to be productive and connect with nature, and it’s something that’s within our control in a situation that feels entirely out of control.”
October is the perfect time to plant the bulbs that will bring your garden color next spring and throughout the year, says the Dodge City Daily Globe. Most flowering bulbs perform well in conditions with full sun to part shade, and sandy loam or ameliorated garden soils with a pH of 6.0–7.0. Planting depths vary — large bulbs such as tulips should be planted about 6″ deep, while smaller bulbs need as little as 2″ of soil cover. Plant bulbs in clumps for best results in display; they are not “row” flowers like many annuals. Keep the soil moist, add a layer of mulch, and wait for the spring thaw and colorful blooms!
Fall is a great time to do some #planting. Many new trees and shrubs that go in now will have the chance to establish roots before the freeze, giving them a jump start on the new season. “You can get stuff in the ground, and just walk away,” nursery manager Mike Ingalls told Vermont’s Seven Days. “The trees are in place and ready to go in the spring, starting to grow in their forever home. They’re already popping.” What’s more, trees and shrubs planted now will resume their natural growing cycle — and may even show some fall colors before going dormant for the winter.
Now’s the time to clean out #garden beds if you want them to flourish and flower next spring. Pull out annuals and any other plants and shrubs that have died back. Cut the grass one last time, and make it short — shaggy lawns left under snowpack can develop brown patches, Cleveland.com says. Rake up the grass trimmings, dead leaves and other detritus and compost them if they are disease-free; burn or trash suspect material. Mulch flower beds to discourage the growth of weeds in the spring. Finally, clean and sharpen your garden tools — and then relax around the fire pit.