Candidates for fall planting include a host of salad greens, like lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, arugula and mizuna. Other autumn veggies include radish, turnip, kohlrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

When to plant:

Wait to plant bulbs until nighttime temperatures drop to around 50 degrees or below for about two weeks to give the soil a chance to cool down so your bulbs don’t emerge too early. To give bulbs enough time to root and get established, try to plant them at least six weeks before a hard, ground-freezing frost can be expected in your area (typically in October in northern climates, and November or later in warmer climates). If you still haven’t put your bulbs in the ground by early winter, go ahead and plant them as soon as there is a thaw or break in the weather. Leaving bulbs out of the ground too long will cause them to wither and dry out. Another option is to plant your bulbs in pots and allow them to overwinter in a holding bed or a sheltered outdoor spot, covered with several inches of mulch.

Planting tips:

When purchasing bulbs, buy several varieties with a range of flowering periods so you can enjoy blooms from early to late spring. Bury your bulbs with the pointed end up to a depth about three times their diameter (for most tulip and daffodil bulbs, that’s about 6 to 8 inches). For the greatest impact, plant them in clusters of five or more, rather than sticking a single bulb in the ground. To camouflage the bulb foliage when it begins to die back in the spring, intermingle your bulbs with perennials that have similar foliage, such as daylilies and hostas. For more guidance, see these tulip planting tips.

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What to plant


Fall is the time for planting bulbs that flower in spring and summer, including crocus, tulip, daffodil, alliums and all of the lilies, such as Asiatic, Oriental, Orienpet, turk’s cap and martagon.


Cool-season grass thrives in fall, whether you’re planting seed or sod. Cool-season grasses include fine fescues (red, chewings, hard, tall), Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and bentgrass. Fall is the right time to overseed cool-season lawns to thicken turf.


Keep fresh vegetables coming by sowing seeds or transplants of cold-tolerant veggies. Depending on where you garden, seeds need to be in the ground by late August or early September. Candidates for fall planting include a host of salad greens, like lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, arugula and mizuna. Other autumn veggies include radish, turnip, kohlrabi, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.


The window for planting shrubs (evergreen and deciduous) is long—from early fall until the ground freezes. Of course, in coldest zones, it’s best to tuck plants into soil in early fall, so new roots can grow before the ground freezes solid.


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