How Does Your Garden Grow?

Louise Grabell

What? It’s too hot? True gardeners never pay attention to the weather! They do what has to be done whenever necessary and it is necessary now to plan for your fall garden. This is the time of year to tidy up things, amend and fertilize and start thinking about removing those annuals that have given you a summer’s worth of blooms and are ready for replacement.

Fall is the time for planting. This includes not only flowers but veggies as well. You can plant any warm-climate crop in late summer or early fall. The trick is to select types that will mature before the first average frost date for our area which is around Thanksgiving. So if you are planting beans, for example, on September 1 you have approximately 10 weeks of growing time for your beans to reach maturity before there is danger of frost. Vegetables that will mature in eight weeks would be better. Try different kinds of lettuce for example. This crop can be quite successful in a small space if the rabbits don’t know about it! LOL – You get my point? Even a small vegetable garden needs to be fenced in. Raising the bed is not sufficient to prevent our “locals” from going into it for a snack.

About fall flowers; no problem there. Snapdragons, pansies, geraniums and petunias will flourish in the cooler weather. Just make sure the soil is in good condition and, as for the veggies, proper irrigation is necessary. As the nights get cooler, less irrigation will be needed. You will have to pay attention to this issue.

All kinds of herbs will do well in the coming cooler weather and, fortunately, they can be container-planted. Dill, parsley and basil are just a few. These small leafy plants can be grown quickly from seed and will stay with you for many months as long as they don’t freeze.

And don’t forget those rhizomes and bulbs you’ve been thinking about. Start planning for daffodils, tulips, iris, amaryllis, etc. and prepare the soil where those will be located. You’ll want to wait a bit—probably until the end of October to plant these. Gladiolas should be planted in spring about six to eight inches deep and you will never have to plant them again!

Be careful about pruning now through the fall growing season. Pruning encourages new growth which will suffer from the coming cold weather. If you can live with your straggly shrub, try to wait until late winter to do your pruning. Hey, less work to do now! The only pruning you should consider is the removal of branches which have become troublesome or dangerous to you or passersby. This includes tree branches as well. And leave your citrus trees alone. They were bred for fruit, not beauty. If you’ve got a citrus tree that shouts “ugly” then you should never have planted it in the first place.

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke/SaddleBrooke Ranch invite you to visit their website: for all up-to-date information and events for our community.

Garden questions? You can reach our very own SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem. Your SaddleBrooke Master Gardener Volunteers are here all year-round to assist with any plant or landscaping problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.