Keith Fuller: Prepare now for fall growing season

Fall is just around the corner, and children are excited to return to school.


That means it’s time to start planning and planting for the fall garden.

There are plenty of annuals with autumnal colors you can start from seed as well as most vegetable varieties for your fall garden.

Starting transplants from seed in small containers allows for more varietal selections, and since a transplant takes four to six weeks to produce, it helps you shorten the time until bloom or harvest once the plant is in the ground.

Because transplants are in containers, you can move them during the production cycle should we experience too much rain or heat.

If you are wanting flowers with the warm colors of fall, some varieties to consider are zinnia, portulaca, marigold, rudbeckia and gaillardia.

Transplants of most vegetables can be seeded now.

Remember, fruiting vegetables such as squash, cucumber, pepper and tomato will not tolerate as much cold as leaf or root crops, so prioritize them for earliest placement in the fall garden.

You don’t need a fancy seed tray to sow your seeds in. Look in your recycle bin for yogurt cups, egg cartons or cans. You can even use plastic bottles once you cut the top portion off with a pair of scissors.

All of these containers will need a drainage hole poked in the bottom before you fill them with soil.

For soil, purchase a bag of seed starting mix. These mixes are lighter in weight and have smaller particles than regular potting soil. This helps the small seed you will be sowing to germinate and break the soil surface.

Remember to label your seed trays and date when they were planted. For flowers, you may want to start all the seeds at once. For vegetables, you should stagger seed sowing so you have transplants ready at different times, and your harvest will last over a longer period of time. Sowing vegetable seeds about every two weeks should work.

Prepare now for fall, our second growing season of the year.