Fall Planting for Spring

Kevin Maryott with McCoard's Garden Center speaks on planting in the fall for spring blooms.

Fall Plantings for Spring

Great flowers to plant in fall for both fall and spring color:

Chrysanthemums: Not only will mums give you vibrant fall color but there new foliage in the spring is a deep luxuriant green adding life to the garden in April.

Pansies & Violas: Hardy, cold weather plants that will give you blooms even in the snow. Plant in the fall for early spring color.

Flowering Kale:  Kale is not only colorful and exotic in the fall and spring garden, but it is edible and one of the healthiest leafy veggies that you can eat.  Try chopped kale in a green shake for extra vitality.

Primroses: Just as pansies and violas, primroses are hardy, cold weather plants with colorful blooms early in the spring against the last snows of winter.

Snapdragons: Surprise! Snapdragons are generally thought of as spring and summer annuals, but planting them in the fall, especially in a sheltered area, ensures their bright bloom spikes are enjoyed earlier in the spring.

Bulbs: The spring standard! Tulips, daffodils, narcissus, crocus, and hyacinths traditionally single spring is here!

Planting

General

  1. Be sure the plant/bulb is healthy when purchasing from your local garden center.
  2. Prepare soil with any required amendments.
  3. Plan the planting based on plant sizes, colors, textures and bloom cycle.

Perinneals & Annuals

  1. Dig holes in depth equal to the size of the root ball.
  2. Break up the root ball to expedite rooting.
  3. Fill hole with water.
  4. Place plant in hole.
  5. Gently fill in area around root ball with amended soil and pat to alleviate air space.

Bulbs

Plant bulbs twice as deep as the bulb height. For instance, if the bulb is two inches tall, dig a hole and plant the bulb four inches down. When planting bulbs in the fall, proper timing is required. To ensure proper timing, plant bulbs about six weeks before the first expected frost (2017 first expected frost in Salt Lake and Utah Valleys is on/about October 19). Proper timing allows the bulbs time to root, but not enough time for the bulbs to start growing foliage and blooms.

The Fruit Harvest

Check the timeframe for harvesting the specific genus/variety of fruit first. The following are “General” harvest times:

  • Apples/Pears: Late July through early October
  • Apricots/Nectarines/Peaches July through September
  • Cherries (Early June through July)
  • Plums (June through Early September)

It is time to harvest when:

SIGHT

The fruit will look ripe. Deep and/or vibrant color will be evident without any dull, green undertones (i.e. for fruits that are not supposed to be green when ripe). If a fruit still has green coloring, leave it on the tree for a few more days to ripen. In addition, watch the bird life around the tree; if birds start showing unusually keen interest in the fruit, the chances are, the fruit is ripe!

SMELL

Fruit is ripe when it has the strong, sweet fruity scent common to its genus. In other words, an apple will smell strongly like and an apple, and a peach will smell strongly like a peach, etc.

TOUCH

There are two general rules to follow for touch. Fruit that is supposed to be firm and not soft such as apples and pears should be firm and have great color. With some geneses/varieties especially pears it is best to pick the fruit a little early and let ripening continue after harvest. By so doing, fruit flavor and texture are ensured to be at their best. Fruit that is supposed to “give” when ripe such as peaches and apricots will lose their green firmness and will give slightly when gently squeezed. In addition, the seam/suture of the fruit should be soft.

TASTE

Of course, taste is an important indicator of ripeness. If you are not confident in telling the ripeness of your fruit by sight, smell, or touch, then pick a fruit and take a bite. If it’s still a little crunchy and lacking that juicy sweetness you’d expect, then give the rest of the fruit on the tree more time to ripen. Taste is a little more subjective, but what matters most is that you harvest your fruit when it tastes good to you.