Gardening in the Fall – and Beyond!


Fall can be a great time to plant and transplant – as long as you allow enough time for the plants to develop some root structure before the ground cools and they go dormant. This is especially true for plants, bushes, and trees that bloom in the early spring.

Some benefits of planting in the fall include:

  • Fewer issues with pests and excessive heat.
  • The plants are better able to retain their moisture during the cooler fall weather.
  • Plants are less likely to suffer from transplant shock.
  • It is a more comfortable time to work in the garden.
  • You can often find good deals on new plants, bushes, and trees in the fall.
  • You can divide existing perennials and transplant them to bare spots in your garden or yard. (I often forget where the bare spots were by the time spring rolls back around!)
Photo courtesy of Christopher Ludtke

Photo courtesy of Christopher Ludtke

When transplanting, be sure to dig the plant out as far as the stems or branches extend. Dig the new hole twice as wide as the root ball and fill around the plant with good soil and compost.

Be sure to water the plant well. This is also a good time to use an organic fertilizer. For more information, check out these books about gardening in our area:

Flowers, bushes, and trees aren’t the only things you can plant in the fall. Ever wished you could have fresh greens in the winter?

Year-round gardening is not just a dream. You can do it, and fall is the time to get started.

Photo courtesy of Distant Hill Gardens.

Photo courtesy of Distant Hill Gardens.

There are a variety of options, but they all include some way of protecting the plants from frigid temperatures. This can be accomplished with variations of row cover (a protective material that covers the plants), hoops supporting plastic sheeting over your plants, and/or cold frames, which are like miniature unheated greenhouses.

If you like, you can even build a plastic-covered movable greenhouse. In our part of the world, you will likely need some combination, such as row covers beneath hoops and plastic sheeting.

The library has some great books and videos about year-round gardening:


There comes a time during the winter when even plants protected from the cold will go dormant because the days are too short to provide enough sunlight. However, even when this happens, you can often still harvest – or if the plants are too small, they will stay alive and start growing again as soon as the days start getting a bit longer. You can choose which you prefer and set your planting times accordingly.

Year-round gardening may require a bit of trial and error, but the benefit is that you will have lovely fresh produce when you would likely otherwise be eating produce that has traveled a great distance!


Jill Mickel

Jill Mickel is a Public Services Specialist and a member of the Arts and Crafts team. Her passions are art and community, and she believes that art is for everyone! When she is not at the library or working in her studio, she can be found gardening, cooking, reading, or bird-watching.