The cooler temperatures that filled the air last week brought with them visions of fall. And, for local gardeners, fall is one of the best planting – and prepping – times of the year.
For one local master gardener, fall is the perfect time to grow herbs and cooler-weather vegetables and begin preparation for spring gardening.
“I always have something growing to eat in my garden at all times of the year,” said Mary Ann Woodworth.
Woodworth usually concentrates on herbs that she can use during the winter months.
“I always suggest growing parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme. These are my go-to plants to keep on hand during the holiday seasons,” she said. “They are perfect for cooking, as well as using as a garnish for serving foods. You can use the herbs to decorate trays of hors d’oeuvres.”
The herbs that Woodworth grows during the fall can be grown in containers for a “decorative touch and really pop when added to pots with flowers such as pansies.”
Fall is also the perfect time to plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips. Basil can also be planted before the first frost.
“Remember the night of the first frost – around the first or second week of November – to cut the basil down and bring them in to make pesto that you can freeze for the winter months,” added Woodworth.
Woodworth takes advantage of the cooler fall days to prepare for the next growing season – spring.
“It’s a perfect time to divide perennials and see what’s not performing well,” she noted, adding that she will lead a Dividing Perennials class at the Kroc Center on Sept. 10 and 11. “A lot of time when perennials aren’t doing well, it’s because they need to be divided.”
For those looking ahead a few seasons, Woodworth said that doing some preparation in the fall will make planting in the spring easier.
“Now’s the time to start planning for the spring garden,” she said. “Raised beds, composting, taking care of the existing beds; fall is the perfect time to prepare for spring.”
Fall also brings with it the opportunity to decorate using nature-inspired items. To help inspire others, Woodworth will lead a number of gardening workshops at the Kroc Center over the next few months. On Oct. 1 and 2 and Dec. 3 and 4, she will lead Decorating for the Holidays.
The Kroc Center will also offer a wreath class in November. All information about the classes are posted online at www.