Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
We are finally seeing our first signs of fall. Hopefully the high temperatures are gone and the weather will be good for fall planting and preparation of spring beds. September through November usually give us good weather for gardening tasks.
Did you know that fall is the time to plant many things? Trees, shrubs, spring bulbs, strawberries and wildflowers are best planted in the fall which gives them a chance to develop a good root system before spring.
Wildflowers are best planted in October and are a beautiful addition to your landscape.
First, buy seeds from a reliable source. Check the internet for seed companies that offer seeds specifically for West Texas. When planting, lightly till the soil because seed to soil contact is needed for good germination. When the seeds are planted, tamp them down and water. During the fall and winter, keep the weeds out of the bed.
Potatoes can also be planted in the fall since they get a head start on the growing season. They will start to grow roots as soon as the temperature is right. If you plant in the fall your job is much easier than in the spring since you won’t have to work the soil.
First, you will need to purchase your seed potatoes. Since they are not readily available in the fall, you can plant whole potatoes in the fall. When selecting fall seed potatoes pick ones that are firm and look healthy, about the size of an egg or larger. Avoid soft, mushy potatoes.
Next, get the area ready that you plan to use to grow your potatoes. Use a no till system. Make a furrow and place the seed potatoes about 8” apart. Then cover with 2” of wood chips which will provide fertilizer to the plants. Add another 4” of wood chip mulch which will protect them from the winter cold. As the temperatures warm in the new year, your potatoes will begin to grow.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.