When it comes to fall gardening, the phrase “ you reap what you sow” rings true, in the best way. As the summer dwindles and the air begins to crisp, it’s no time for gardeners to hang up their gloves! Instead, prepare the garden with these plants to ensure a bountiful garden for 2023. We’ve rounded up the best crops—from herbs and veggies to ornamental grasses and flowers—for Canadians with a green thumb to plant now so they can enjoy a lush garden enjoy all year round.
Fall, when soil temperatures have dropped, is the ideal time to plant many varieties of spring-flowering bulbs. Tulips, one of spring’s earliest blooms, should be planted from September to October, depending on the climate of your region. Other bulbs to consider planting now include daffodils, hyacinth, alliums and peonies.
Some things are worth the wait, like these slow-to-bloom bulbs. Autumn crocus is planted in the late fall and will bloom the next year (a bright surprise as you may have already forgotten that you planted them!). If you live in a milder region, other bulbs like pansies or mums can be planted in the fall as perennials.
Take advantage of the last few days before winter to plant some quick-growing herbs. You can harvest the herbs in just a few short weeks, and the hardier perennial herbs like chives, oregano, thyme, mint and tarragon can survive some winter weather, depending on your region. For example, there are some varieties of rosemary that can withstands frosts up to negative twenty-one degrees celsius. If your region gets colder than that, you may want to repot in its own pot and bring indoors for the colder weather.
Ensure that your flower garden is blooming throughout the summer and spring by getting some easy-to-plant seeds in the ground this fall. Black-eyed Susans, coneflowers and perennial sunflowers (among many others) are best planted in the fall to give the seeds a period of cold stratification before germinating.
Some varieties of front-resistant semi-hardy vegetables are ideal to get in the ground ahead of first frost for a fall or winter harvest. Consider vegetables like Swiss chard, cabbage and cauliflower. Depending on the temperatures in your region, you can plant these around six to eight weeks before first frost.
Hardy brassica crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale are the most tolerant to frost in general, and should usually be planted around 9- days before first frost for a late fall or winter harvest.
Fall and Winter Annuals
Hardy annuals like ornamental kale can be planted in the fall and enjoyed throughout the season, until the early winter (depending on the climate you live in). As the weather gets colder, it brings out the beautiful purple and red colours in ornamental kale that will add interest and colour to your late fall garden. Other fall annuals to consider include mums, violas, and other ornamental veggies like cabbage and peppers.
Fall is a great time to plant trees if the soil is still relatively warm and the air has a chill. As long as the soil isn’t already frozen, planting in the fall should allow time for the tree to establish roots. In general, if the trees in your area still have leaves, you’re good to plant.
Like trees, fall is an ideal time to plant shrubs in your garden. Ensure that you’re planting about six weeks before first frost so they have time to establish strong roots before winter hits and the plant goes into dormancy.
Similarly, it can be beneficial to start certain grasses in the early fall when the climate is less dry. Cool-weather grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and perennial ryegrass are ideal to plant in the late summer to early fall to give them time to establish before winter.