Fall Gardening in Climate Change Conditions

Fall Gardening in Climate Change Conditions
October 21, 2022 Sabine Schoenberg

For gardeners fall gardening has become one moment when climate change becomes local and personal.

The chilly fall air is a call to plant bulb-planting for gardeners. Why? You need cold air so that the bulbs stay dormant until warmer spring temperatures the following year. Every gardener knows this.  However, these days, gardeners deal with erratic, warmer, and unpredictable temperature changes. Instead of cold Mid-October days, New England still has plenty of days with temperatures with warm, growing temperatures.  This makes fall bulb planting tricky. What if, the ground freezes the next day? Severe temperature drops in one day are also not uncommon any longer. this is merely one example of how gardeners experience today’s changes in the climate. Some call it climate change.

Planting Details

In New England this year we saw unexpected, warm 70-degree days in the middle of October.  While one could argue this is a small effect of climate change, and perhaps it is just an anomaly this year, when planting 2000 daffodil bulbs, as I am doing in one project, you want things to go right. Catch more details of this endeavor on SHGLiving’s series, SabinesNewHouse’s upcoming TikTok channel – look for it.

Other Planting Hazards

This spring planting only calls for the planting of daffodils. This might sound a bit monochromatic if not downright boring for a spring border. However, given the many daffodil varieties available today we should have a big, varied, and beautiful border. There is one more benefit: Mixing varieties of daffodils also extends the flowering season of the daffodils, as each variety blooms at slightly different times. It should be a rolling beauty of yellow flowers over several weeks.

There is one more important reason to stay with daffodils: Daffodils are deer resistant. without deer fencing, tulips and other spring flowers would be eaten by deer. However, I have yet to see a daffodil nibbled at by deer.  What are your favorite deer-resistant plants?

Watering Realties Due To Climate Change

Regions across the United States have either way too much, or too little water these days. Drought conditions from CA to the East Coast are and continue to be rather scary in 2022.  Gardners are advised to carefully consider the drought tolerance of the material they plant this fall and going forward. Watch CaliKim’s West Coast vegetable gardening methods for valuable water-reducing strategies, while she creates abundant harvests from her gardens. 

Smart Watering Solutions

I still see outdated, water-wasting sprinkler systems on properties around my Town. It appears one reason is that homeowners still do not know of the many truly beneficial smart home irrigation controllers to better manage watering cycles.  I suspect a second reason is that sprinkler systems typically run during the night or during early morning hours. In other words, the water runs when homeowners are not seeing it in action – out of sight is out of mind. However, watering lawns and gardens when rain is in the forecast for the day, esp. during water shortages is no longer defensible. Check out Smart Home Solver to upgrade your irrigation systems. 

https://watch.shgliving.com/apps/3025/search/38475508 ) for his comparison of two units.

Minimally, homeowners who do not care about their impact on the planet might want to know how they aren’t wasting their money by relying on outdated systems. Why not install a relatively inexpensive, and definitely cost-effective, weather-predictive smart irrigation controller?

No doubt, gardening brings one closer to Mother Earth.  Today, fall gardening and gardening, in general, are impacted by today’s changing weather/climate conditions. Adapting long-held gardening methods to today’s conditions is needed. Let’s make gardening beautiful and good for the planet at the same time.


Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton