Early Gardening with Echter’s

Laying the Foundation for a Great Growing Season

Whether you’re regularly harvesting veggies from your garden or simply enjoying the ever-changing sights and smells around your neighborhood, summer is a time of bloom. As the end draws closer, you might be looking at your green space and thinking…what now? I sat down with Julie Echter, store manager of Echter’s, to get her gardening tips for late summer and early fall, and there are plenty of planting options, even with our relatively short season here in Colorado.

In the short term, you can add some color to your outside planters and garden beds with mums and pansies. They prefer cooler temperatures and can even handle some of the early freezes. You can also plant lettuce, spinach and radishes if you’re hoping for one last harvest, as they’re relatively quick to pop up. Early fall is also a great time for planning, and she has a mantra to help guide you.

Julie says, “The right plant in the right place.”

In short, the better suited a plant is for its environment, especially in our high desert climate, the less work they end up being. She’s noticed an increase in xeriscaping, with customers moving towards low water need plants, and sees time savings as a major benefit, along with the positive environmental impact.

“I think people have busy lives and probably don’t have the time or energy to baby plants all the time,” Julie says.

She recommends using Plant Select as a resource for finding plants that thrive in the Rocky Mountain region. Julie also encourages mixing perennials, vegetables, annuals and evergreens to create spaces that bloom during different parts of the growing season, ensuring your garden is beautiful and colorful throughout.

As you create a plan for the next growing season, there are plenty of things you can and should plant in the early fall. For example, daffodils and tulips are actually fall bulbs, so plant them this year if you want that pop of color next spring. It’s also a great time to put perennials, trees, and shrubs in the ground. They just need to establish a root system before the ground freezes, and plenty can do that relatively quickly.

Fall is also an important time for maintenance. Julie recommends removing dead plant material from garden beds, to avoid diseases remaining dormant there through the winter. Similarly, if you’re planning to bring potted plants, like hibiscus, inside for the winter, make sure to spray them for bugs and diseases first to help keep your houseplants safe.

Another pest Julie has seen entirely too much of this year is the Japanese Beetle, and the fall is an ideal time to treat your grass with grubGONE! to help stop them in their grub phase. You should also plan to winterize your lawn, to help it go dormant and give it some nutrients, and can even reseed in the fall.

If this is all sounding like Gardening 401 when you were hoping for a 101, worry not! Julie has several fall classes coming up and trains the staff to help gardeners of all skill levels.

“That’s one of my favorite parts of the business…helping people who are new to it,” Julie says.

“The right plant in the right place.”

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