El Paso’s 100-plus degree weather may fade in the fall, but it doesn’t mean the end of gardening.
Anyone can still plant cool season plants or prepare their beds for spring – green thumbs or not.
“Cool weather gardening offers many advantages, not the least of which is the wide choice of crops that can be grown,” the El Paso County Master Gardeners say on their website.
Producing a vegetable garden in the fall isn’t difficult. It can keep harvesting into the fall, and maybe into the winter.
“It’s not widely known, but it is easy to have a fall garden,” said Doc Stalker, a master gardener.
Winter squashes are great for planting. Cilantro and parsley are just two of several herbs you can plant in the fall, he said.
“You can even plant warm-season vegetables with shortened maturity times. I plant fall tomatoes, and we still have some through Thanksgiving,” Stalker said.
WHAT TO PLANT: Snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, spinach, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, dill, fennel, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, oregano, thyme, chamomile and sage.
TIPS: Sow seeds of winter flowers in outdoor planting flats in early October; plant leaf and root vegetables late in the month. Apply fertilizer to warm season turf; lightly prune and fertilize stressed flowering annuals, perennials and roses; prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs.
WATERING: Water to the same depth as summer, but less frequently.
WHAT TO PLANT: Chrysanthemums, Mexican bush sage, ornamental grasses, petunias, snapdragons, calendulas, alyssum, ornamental kale, garlic, cabbages, spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, irises, tulips, anemones, hyacinths, ranunculus, trees and winter hardy shrubs.
TIPS: Plant in well-draining soil in area that receives at least half a day of full sun. Purchase spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, irises and tulips now for best selection; they may be planted now into well-draining soil; mow turf areas at the recommended height (one to two inches for Bermuda) until the grass goes dormant.
WATERING: Lengthen time between watering cycles even more; water to the same depth.
WHAT TO PLANT: Pansies, violas, snapdragons, dianthus, flowering kale, trees and shrubs.
TIPS: Place in well-draining soil where they receive some sun. Order seeds for planting next spring now. Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment that will not be used again until next spring.
WATERING: Water evergreens about once per month. Deciduous trees and shrubs that go dormant in the winter also need watering once every four to six weeks. Reduce irrigation frequency to about once per month for Bermuda grass lawns. Irrigate fescue and other winter grasses to about once every week to 10 days.
Source: El Paso County Master Gardeners