The end of the growing season is in sight, but there's still time to add more plants to your landscape!
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens in Ames, and Patrick O'Malley, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist, about late season planting and unusual fruit crops.
We usually think of spring when we think of adding new foliage to our gardens, but there are a number of factors that make fall a great time of year for planting, too.
"This time of year the soils are a lot warmer, so you can get a lot better establishment of new growth after you've planted," Steil says. "It's also a good time of year because the soil moisture and weather conditions are more favorable."
Pawpaw, persimmon, honeyberry, and other niche fruit bearing plants might not yet be on your radar, but can make excellent additions to many Iowa gardens. While delicate fruit trees like peaches and apples do best planted in spring, O'Malley says pawpaw and persimmon trees can be planted in fall.
The unofficial deadline for most fall planting is coming up, so be sure to get your plants in the ground soon.
"In reality, when we say fall planting, it may be more accurate to say 'late summer, early fall' planting. There are a lot of plants that really do better when you get them in the ground before mid to the end of September," Steil says.
"When we start getting later, especially into the latter part of September and October, we don't have as much time for that plant to get established before winter hits and you have the potential of seeing some winter damage because of that."
Bulbs, however, can wait a little longer.
"The general rule of thumb is October is the best time to do bulbs," Steil says. "Early to mid-October is the ideal time. If you don't get them done by the end of October you can still put them in the ground, as long as you can dig a hole."
Later in the hour, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron joins Steil and O'Malley to answer listener questions.