By Jan Boone Photos by Jan Boone
As Fall is coming quickly, it’s a valuable time to take stock of what you grew this past season.
Hopefully you’ve amassed new successes in plant varieties, be it vegetables (heirloom or
hybrid) varieties, new perennials or annuals, shrubs or fruit trees. The failures of things you really hoped would work can be put aside for the “Lessons Learned’ pile in planning for 2020. Those of us who work the Evergreen Farmer’s Market booth for JeffCo Master Gardeners took an informal survey (non-scientific, I admit) in late August to confirm what people had success with and wanted to share with other gardeners. While specific plant varieties were not accounted for, it’s perhaps a starting point for those looking to try something new in the 2020 growing season. The everlasting quest for the perfect Foothills tomato is evident, but a missing popular vegetable which does not show up in our survey is any member of the squash family! Perhaps it was due to the cool and wet start to our growing season? We all agreed that only so much can be accomplished in our average 80 day growing cycle, as well a our average early frost dates of mid-September. The usual container annuals appeared in the survey as they are popular with those who plant on decks to avoid wildlife foraging, HOA constraints or small spaces. See below for the resulting list we gathered:
Flowering Plants, Bulbs & Shrubs
Begonias – hanging
Bleeding Hear t
Nepeta (Cat mint)
Oregon Grape (dwarf & regular varieties)
Yarrow (colored varieties)
Vegetables & Fruit
Lavender – Munstead variety
As you look forward to seed saving or planting bulbs in the coming weeks, there also is the chore of putting your garden to bed for the winter. That’s a tough one as our climate changes and some things may grow longer (or bloom later) than anticipated. Time to dig out and maybe create a cold frame for cold season vegetables or provide protection for smaller potted plants? Don’t forget the containers that support the favored plants you’ve worked hard to maintain in the garden or on the deck. Evaluate what plantings have worked well and what you’d maybe like to expand upon for next year. Consider new microclimates that may have appeared in your garden due to water (snow) packs, winds, changing sun and shade patterns as well as hardscapes; straighten out the accumulated clutter from those dead plants that didn’t survive a hot spell or a browsing deer or elk. Does something need to move inside to survive the winter freezes? Do your beds need a hearty soil and compost boost to replenish and overwinter? Watch out for diseased leaves if you add these to home sourced mulch for winter. Mulching too close to stems may promote rot with trapped moisture. Put yourself in the best possible position to start your 2020 growing season, imagine the sparkle of hellebores blooming in retreating snow, daffodils dancing and wildflowers bobbing their heads. Those 2020 garden catalogs will be arriving before you know it and you’ll pat yourself on the back for thinking ahead.