Fall Gardening Envy

As another month comes to a close–another remarkably warm and dry month, I might add–it seems that all the magazines, blogs, Facebook feeds and twitter posts are all about “Fall Gardening.”

And that’s pretty much as it should be. For most people, fall is when they should be planting. The ground is warmer than it was in the spring, and plants are still readily available and lots of them are even on sale. So what on earth am I talking about, fall gardening isn’t for everyone?

As usual, it’s all about your own garden and your own site–a thing in gardening called “microclimate.”  You can even have “microclimates” on your own property–places that are warm and sheltered where you can grown certain things, and other places that are hit by prevailing winds in the winter so they are colder and plants need a little more protection.

I will never forget being astounded at the “microclimate” I created when I put up a fence. Plants that had struggled for years suddenly shot up a foot or two over 1 season. It was great. But I put the fence up on the northwest corner of my property, a place that had always been hit by the cold winter winds. Now that those winds were cut back, the plants really took off.

So who should NOT garden in the fall? I suspect you already know who you are–or you will learn quickly. I can’t plant in the fall. My heavy wet clay retains water (not lately of course, but most years) and in the early spring the newly planted plants freeze and rot away. It’s not pretty.

I am going to have to plant a few things this fall because I have held off doing so all summer because of the drought. I will be interesting to see if the same thing happens this year when it’s been so ridiculously dry.

I am sure there are others–those, perhaps, who have such short growing seasons that they can’t do much fall gardening without a lot of winter protection. I don’t think Alaska or Colorado gardeners do a lot of fall planting but I might be mistaken. But based on what I read in my buddy’s column in the Alaska Dispatch News, they don’t do much fall planting–and they have had record setting warmth up there. (Then again, they can’t grow hydrangeas either–yet, as he points out.)

So when I read all about the magic of fall gardening–and when I write about it myself–I feel just a little left out. Just wanted you all to know. I have “fall gardening envy.”



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