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Sage Garden Blog

Doing any fall planting?

It has taken a while, but zone three gardeners are really catching on to the advantages of doing outdoor landscape planting in September. The key benefits to this time if the year include: 

1) warm ground that will encourage root development

2) cooler days and nights which reduces stress for newly planted trees, shrubs or perennials

3) the opportunity to clearly visualize the mature summer landscape

4) the opportunity to have plants be significantly more established compared to planting next spring

5) fall rains help soak the ground around new plantings 

A common tree planting mistake is to not open up the root ball. Don't be gentle: it is extremely important to spread the roots out before planting. A knife or scissors may be require, if the plant is root bound.

Watering is the other key to success. Add a nice puddle of H2O into the planting hole, then soak the tree after planting. Repeat soaking daily for 1 week... and don't forget about watering next season.

Aside from trees, shrubs and perennials, there is the amazing opportunity to plant hardy fall bulbs such as tulips, crocus, daffodils and edibles such as seed garlic. These items can only be planted in fall in our climate, and in fact should ideally be planted in October. The rewards are huge come spring, and bulb planting is so easy to do! 

Early October is an ideal time to start planting fall bulbs. At Sage we offer Canadian grown and Dutch bulbs, all neonic freeand bee-friendly. We currently have these colourful tulip sets grown in PEI, and will have the Dutch bulbs in store net week. 

Grass seed and similar turf alternatives such as micro-clover are another home/garden category truly well suited for fall planting. In fact, fall is considered the ideal time for sowing grass, as all types of grass do not establish easily during hot weather.  

Eco-Lawn is our go to grass seed at Sage Garden. It is very low maintenance and has a completely different (deep) root structure compared to the common turf grasses. It stays green in hot weather and requires very little watering or feeding! 5 lbs covers 1,000 square feet, and many people over-seed their lawn in fall (regardless of type of grass) to encourage the most verdant possible turf. 

Grass and clover seed can either be planted now, and allowed to germinate and start growing into the soil, or dormant seeded closer to the first snow. Either way you can expect green much earlier and with less watering compared to spring or summer sowing. 

 Ever thought about pansies and violas for fall colour? These charmers are very cold tolerant and are a perfect option for making outdoor displays that pop, just as most other things are winding down. They work on the windowsill too! 

You can pick-up a colourful selection of fall-friendly violas and pansies at Sage. They are just $1.99 per pot or 8 for $10.00! Easy way to make fall displays. 

Last but not least there are many types of garden seeds that are more co-operative when direct seeded outdoors in fall. Yes, this is so true and can save you an ton of work and expense compared to purchasing the same items as established transplants, or struggling with these items when seeded indoors in late winter examples include most types of zone 3 hardy perennialscold tolerant veggies such as onions, leeks, shallots, chives, lettuces, carrots, beets and reseeding annual flowers such as calendula or borage. Just as with dormant seeded grass or clover, these types of garden seeds are ideally sown outdoors shortly before snow comes... so we have some time to plan... but worth mentioning now to help people get organized for this type of less familiar project. 

We are running a little late for sowing fall greens to grow actively in the garden outdoors (vs. dormant seeded for spring), but if you are using containers, raised beds or have any type of coldframe protection it is still worth planting kale, lettuce, cilantro, tat soi, orach, mustards, mizuna, Asian greens, non-heading broccoli and other cold hardy edibles. These all mature to at least baby greens size in less than 35 days, so even as frost looms in the near future these can be enjoyed, home grown and organic right here on the prairies. Amazing but true!

Fall lettuce growing in a big pot outdoors at Sage. You can enjoy fresh harvested, home grown organic greens so easily as this time of the year! 

← Fall flower bulb and garlic planting 101 Growing Container Veggies →

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