North Haven Gardens Offers Ground Advice for Fall Planting

No, it's not exactly fall yet, but apparently, it's time to start picking out plants for cool weather planting.

Thing is, we here at Mixmaster HQ don't know a damn thing about fall planting. Actually, come to think of it, we don't know too much of anything about planting in general. We just head out in early spring to buy our potted plants. We plant them, feed them and water them to the best of our abilities. Then mid-summer our rosemary crisps up and our neighbor takes pity on our sad, barely alive bougainvillea.

So, since North Haven Gardens sent word that it's time to get to planting, we decided to holler back at them for the down and dirty on what the hell fall planting means for us here in the land that cold forgot. NHG's advertising and marketing manager, and green thumb, Nikki Rosen responded, kindly foregoing the greenspeak for us novice gardeners.

Dig in:

So, tell us, why is it recommended to plant perennials, fruit trees and shrubs in the fall? Because the cooler temps of fall, and hopefully the extra rainfall, will make it easier to establish your plants. Then you'll go into spring and the heat of summer with more established root systems.

Do all fruit trees require a nearby opposing mate in order to give fruit? How do you tell if a tree is a boy or a girl? Not all fruit trees need a "partner." Some do, such as apples, avocados, some cherries and pears. There is no real boy/girl ... all are "both." So you just need two and they'll work it all out.

We've been hitting the 100s for quite some time now. If "cooler temperatures" are preferred for planting certain items, what does "cooler" really mean in Texas? Any hardy plant in a container can really be planted anytime. However, as in question #1, it's much easier to establish perennials, trees and shrubs through fall and winter than through hot Texas summers. As for annual color, each season has it's own varietal selection to plant.

Say we only have a small planter box or some pots. Are we left out of the fall planting fun or are there things we can still tend outdoors in cooler months? Helllloooo!!! CILANTRO! DILL! PARSLEY! FENNEL! LETTUCE! Pansies, violas, cabbage, kale, snapdragons, Iceland poppies, cyclamen, primrose. For cool season perennials, I like hellebores in pots. Also, lots of vegetables work well in containers.

What fall classes at NHG do you find the most exciting? Anything having to do with chickens or growing vegetables. We offer free classes through fall and winter.

We are also starting a new concept of program called "Pop Up." They are short (20 min.), concise programs for people with not a ton of time. This Saturday at 11 a.m. is the first one, "Raised Veggie Beds & Building Better Soil." It will take place in our Vegetable Display Garden.

Quick fire! Favorite landscaping trend right now: Vegetables mixed into landscape plants. Fruit trees too. Broccoli as borders. Best garden-grown herb to cook with: For fall ... fennel or dill. And both will attract butterflies in spring. Number of plants at NHG (give or take the next few sales): Come see. Nine acres of plants! Three of the heartiest (or least intimidating) fall plantings: Mexican Plum, Texas Sage, Salvia greggii (all are tough Texas natives, blooming and drought tolerant ... and in stock now).

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