This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.
I know that some of you might think that I just pontificate to amuse myself and that I am mostly full of BS (and that might be true occasionally) but in this case I need to tell you that the fall season is a darn good time to work in the yard and plant new stuff and move around old stuff.
It's a fact that the nursery industry has tried to impress upon the gardening public for decades and sadly I think it has mostly fallen on deaf ears.
The reason fall is such a good time to plant is because the weather is much like spring. The day lengths are about the same and the night and day temperature fluctuations are similar. These are good growing conditions if you are a plant.
Look around the garden and you can't help but notice that some plants are getting a new lease on life. Lawns are perking up (especially after the downpour we had last week) and greening up nicely. Shrubs and trees occasionally put on one more flush of growth and perennials like hardy cyclamen actually come into bloom. Fall is really very similar to spring.
One other advantage to planting this time of year is that we can control the soil moisture unlike spring when often as not we have TOO MUCH moisture in our soils.
How many times have you dug a hole in spring only to have it fill with water all on its own? While that probably won't ever happen this time of year what can happen is that our soils can be TOO DRY and therefore it is essential that we fill our planting holes with water prior to planting so that the surrounding soil will be well hydrated.
There is nothing worse that putting a plant in a hole and surrounding it with bone dry soil. All that dry soil just sucks the moisture right out of the root ball and those little feeder roots dry up and die and we experience what we like to call "transplant shock". With proper planting there is no need to deal with transplant shock.
Probably a third reason for planting this time of year is that garden centers are both clearing out old tired stock and bringing in new product so there are lots of take me home choices and some really good deals to be had. If we adhere to good planting practices like adding compost and fertilizer and managing soil moisture we should have no trouble being successful.
So believe me when I say that fall is for planting. Horticulturally speaking it is an excellent time and from the gardener's perspective it is cooler and now that the kids are back in school there is more time to garden and finally there are opportunities to save some money.
Check out our Wednesday newsletter which has my monthly check list of chores and a line up of our classes for the month.
September in the garden is a time to get excited again about gardening. Come in and let us share our excitement together. You will be amazed with the selection of plants we have available this time of year.