Fall vegetable seedlings are available now at local garden centers. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

The other day I felt the shift in the air. Did you? The light is different; the breezes and cooler nights are a signal to me that fall is here. We may not get the beautiful fall leaves like other parts of the country but we do have these little signals. To me this is the time to plant as much as I can! 

Fall is the ideal season for planting because:

* The temperatures are not as dramatic as in spring and summer. In fall, the combination of cooler temperatures and shorter day lengths means plants lose less moisture through evaporation. This translates into less watering. Fall shines as a planting season because of the gentle weather it brings. Unlike the scorching heat of summer and freezing mornings of spring, gentle fall temperatures are less stressful on new plants. 

* The air and ground still contain some moisture (in most years at least) and the ground remains warm for quite some time.

* Fall’s cooler temperatures encourage plants to direct their energy toward root growth. As they settle into the warm soil, they have the luxury of focusing on building strong, extensive roots systems. Come spring, this advantage becomes evident as fall-planted specimens tend to establish themselves more quickly and robustly than those planted in the spring or summer. The result? Healthier, more resilient plants that are better prepared to face the challenges of our harsh growing season. With their well-established root systems, fall-planted trees, shrubs, hardy herbs, and perennials are poised to burst forth with new growth as soon as the temperatures warm in spring. This means earlier blooms, more lush growth and a garden that’s ahead of the curve!

While not all plants are suitable for fall planting (like beans, tomatoes, squash, etc.), so many are. And don’t forget those flowers and cool weather vegetables and herbs! 

What (seed or starts) to plant now: 

Vegetables: Broccoli, kale, lettuce, spinach, carrots, radish, beets, turnips, collard greens, green onion, Asian greens, garlic, bulbing onion, and more 

Herbs: Parsley, cilantro, chives, thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender, oregano, mint, and more

Flowers: poppies, sweet peas, pansies, viola, larkspur, alyssum, snapdragons, foxglove, columbine, bachelor’s button, calendula, dianthus, blanket flower, hollyhocks, chrysanthemum, rudbeckia, bee balm, daffodil, allium, and the list goes on and on

Happy fall! Come see me at Patagonia Plants Nursery if you would like to source plants or have any questions! 308 Naugle Ave Patagonia AZ. Fall hours: 9am-2pm, Wed.-Sun.