Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall planting, even if you hate gardening ...

Digging in the earth and planting things comes naturally to me. Some of my earliest memories are of my great uncle, taking me by the hand to his beautiful vegetable garden and helping me choose a perfect carrot. I have always loved the feel and smell of rich dirt and have felt a special excitement when plants first poke their little green heads out of the soil.

Typically, when we think of planting a garden or landscaping, we think of spring as the best time to get started. But fall, with it's cooler temperatures and, in most areas, increased moisture is also a prime planting season.

Trees and bushes, planted in the fall, have ample time to develop strong, deep root systems before the heat of the next summer. This increases their chances of surviving and typically means less watering during hot months. Flowers such as tulips, crocus and daffodils actually need the cold of winter as part of their growth cycle. Vegetables like kale, lettuce, spinach, and radishes do better under cooler conditions.

Successful landscaping and gardens which provide food are only two of the reasons to consider planting ... in the fall or anytime. Plants also offer many environmental benefits. Here are several:

  • Roots stabilize the soil and help prevent erosion.

  • Twigs, branches and leaves help prevent erosion by slowing down the amount of water, from rainfall, that hits the ground. This allows the ground to absorb the water rather than causing it to run off.

  • Moisture which evaporates from leaves helps to cool the air.

  • Branches and leaves provide shade and help reduce wind speed. They also absorb sound, reducing noise pollution.

  • Every part of a plant provides habitat for birds, animal and insect species.

  • And perhaps the greatest environmental benefit of a plant is it's ability to filter pollutants from the air and create oxygen. They are responsible for the very air we breathe.

Whether one loves to plant things ... or not so much ... planting is good for the environment ... and good for us.

As always ... I would love to hear from you.