Isn’t this photo with our garden pickings from few days ago so beautiful! It is October, but we are still enjoying the tomatoes, fall raspberries, plums and pears and few other veggies. Yet, as much as I refuse to accept it, the summer is finally slipping away. This past Sunday we had a little family farewell party to this beautiful and generous summer we had this year.
Yet the gardening life is still very busy. If you are new to gardening, you might not realize that some things you wish to enjoy next year get planted in fall. Plus if you’d like to add some fruit trees and berry bushes to your garden now is a great time to check for end-of-season sales at your local nurseries.
So here I’m sharing with you some gardening tips on planting bulbs (garlic as well as lovely flowers) and what to look for when buying fruit trees. I hope this helps you get started with your Urban Garden if you don’t have one yet. You will be so rewarded once you get one going and it is much easier than you think. And there is no words that can describe the joy it gives to little fruit bats aka ‘small children’ 🙂 who spend their summer days snacking on fruits and berries as they round around half naked 🙂
What to plant now
Garlic: MUST be planted in fall
Whether you already have a small garden or you’ve been contemplating starting one for some time, garlic is a great plant to start with. It is low maintenance, but having fresh garlic from your garden is so delicious. Plus you get to have the garlic leaves as well, which are really good in salads and cooking.
- Buy few heads of organic garlic at a supermarket (remember to buy the loose ones to avoid the plastic mesh bags which aren’t recyclable). When buying check to make sure the garlic is good and firm.
- Separate it into individual cloves. Set aside the best and biggest ones for planting.
- Pick a sunny spot (must be sunny most of the day) where your garlic patch will be. Fluff up the soil and make it moist (not soggy).
- Make a hole that is 3 times as deep as the garlic clove height. Place your clove, cover with soil.
- Make next hole 10-15cm (5′-6′) away. For me it is a bout the width of my hand, I use that as my measuring tool to keep things simple 🙂
Tulips, narcissus and muskari
While I enjoy having some winter once we get into the end of February I’m so antsy to start seeing first signs of nature’s awakening. And the bulb flowers are some of the earliest to wake and greet us with the charming beauty! There are sooooo many of stunning varieties of tulips and narcissus. One of my most beloved spring flower are the little muskari and mom really loves hyacinth.
This website here Wayside Gardens is really dangerous to your wallet, as they have some of most stunning flower varieties! Or you can pick up a pack of bulbs at any garden store right now.
- We usually plant our bulbs in both sunny and shady places, as long as the spot isn’t soggy. The ones planted in sunny spots start blooming earlier, and those in shady spots start later, but last longer. So all together you get a long blooming period.
- Decide how you wish your flower bed to look. Planting bulbs in clumps and mixing them is our favorite way. Tulips always look very beautiful surrounded with the little muscaris. Just don’t put them in a line, it always look underwhelming when they bloom. Take a peek through Pinterest for some inspiration of most beautiful Spring flower beds.
- Spacing: as bulbs will be growing they need about 3 finger width apart from each other.
- Note on tulips: Unlike hyacinths, muskari and narcissus tulips will need to be taken out of the soil after they are done blooming. The reason is the bulbs tend to go deeper and deeper and eventually the flowers seem to never make it from the underground. Because of that we found it is very handy to plant them in little wire baskets that berries and some fruits are often sold in the supermarkets. Makes it easy to find them and pull them out.
- However you decide to arrange the flowers the depth of the hole (whether for individual bulbs or baskets) should be 3 times as deep as the flower bulb’s height.
Getting fruit trees on end-of-season sale
Many nurseries have end of season sale in autumn. Few years ago we bought many great trees on sale at a local nursery. It doesn’t happen every year, but worth checking as the savings could be considerable.
What to keep in mind
- Locate the best spot in your garden first. Should have lots of sun and no shade if you want sweet fruit
- If you space is limited you can buy dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties that stay very compact.
- Remember you can always prune a tree if it gets too wide or too tall for your space
- Some nurseries sell grafted trees meaning trees that have multiple varieties of particular fruit on it. For example, our apple tree has 4 different kinds of apple on it. I think it is the best choice if you can find those, as they usually ripen at different times and it also gives you a variety of taste. Also great if you are just getting familiar with which varieties do best in your area and you like the most for taste quality.
Fruit trees that do well at high altitude
We live and garden in Colorado’s Front Range which is 6,975′ (over 2 kilometers) above sea level. We found apples, plums, pears and surprisingly peaches do really well here. Our peaches actually did even better than apples and pears two years ago when we had many late spring frosts. Last year the Spring was very warm and all of our fruit trees had so much fruit we had to support the branches from breaking. The peaches our tree bears aren’t as sweet and delicious as those we used to buy in California, but the boys still love them and ate more than anyone could count. The apples, plum and pears are just exceptional though.
So there you are, I hope this helped. Again, remember a lot of this is much easier than you think. In a week or so I’m planning to add another blog post about ordering berry plants online. So stay tuned!