[gardeners] Re: Newbie Intro.

Kari Whittenberger-Keith (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 07 Jul 2000 08:20:26 -0700

>Thanks everyone for the welcome (hi Kari!).  My first
>question is can I plant anything now?  Not vegetables
>but herbs or other plants?  What sorts of things
>should I be thinking about doing in the fall? I know
>you plant bulbs in the fall :-)

Hi Stacey,

The answer is...it depends.  Most of the time, it's better to actually
plant in the spring and in the fall.  Spring planting gives plants a chance
to get settled before the heat of summer; fall planting gives plants a good
start before winter sets in (and they will then take off the following
spring).  Summer planting is a bit rough on plants (especially in a hot,
humid climate like DC) because the weather is stressful and the need to
water a LOT becomes really crucial.

Since you are getting a bit of a late start this year (and I understand
completely, having just moved myself), what you might want to do is focus
on some annuals and/or edibles that you can take advantage of this year.
You may still be able to find various veggie starts at your farmer's
markets (at ours, at this time of year, they are selling good sized
tomatoes, chiles, etc. in gallon and five gallon pots).  I've always grown
lots of veggies, especially tomatoes and chiles, in pots, even when I had
the space to put them in the ground--I could control the light better and
put them closer to the kitchen.  You could go ahead and do some container
gardening, while planning how you may want to approach planting in the fall
and working on preparing the soil and beds.  Just make sure the pots are
big enough (I used basic black or terracotta plastic, so they didn't cost
too much).  You could do the same with annual herbs--actually also with
perennial herbs--buy them now and put them in pretty  pots, then plant out
the herbs in their permanent spaces in the fall.  For annual herbs (basil)
just keep them in pots (I do this anyway to help control slugs), harvest,
and enjoy.

You can also plant out a bunch of annual flowers (again in pots as well as
in beds for color).  Annuals are great when you are just getting a garden
started, because they give you color and plants without the long term
committment--it buys you time to decide what you actually want to do long
term!  I have a lot more annuals this year than I had in my other garden,
because this garden is new.  The color is great and I have the time to
decide on the more permanent plantings.

In a way, you actually are in an ideal situation, in that you can get some
stuff growing, while doing your planning and soil prep.  At least this is
what I'm telling myself, especially as I am itching to start rearranging
major beds, that need to wait until after the chiles are done in the fall
to be moved.  So go out, but a bunch of annuals and/or plants for pots, and
go for it.  Have fun!  And keep asking questions.