Don’t Say Goodbye to the Garden Just Yet

Autumn doesn’t mean you have to stop planting

Got the itch to keep gardening although the evenings are getting crisp? There are a few things you can do to keep your green thumb busy right through to spring and beyond.

First, of course, you can plant indoor herbs for snipping and throwing in pasta sauce or making a quick salsa. But think beyond the biggies for special homegrown treats through the winter. Add chamomile to your container garden to brew a steaming cup of fresh tea this winter or use it as a mood mender. You can also grow arugula, a member of the mustard family, indoors. When you have a small quantity, use it as a garnish for a charcuterie board—it’s tasty with salami and burrata.

If you’re looking for an outdoor growing challenge, take it easy on yourself and plant garlic. “It’s one the easiest herbs to plant for all levels of gardeners,” says Denver master gardener Betty Cahill. “Fall is also the best time to plant garlic to give it nine-ten months to grow into large, healthy bulbs.”

Cahill has also experimented with over-wintering bulbs for early spring cutting flowers. Her tip for this: “I chose generic tulip bulbs to plant, ones that aren’t reliably perennial. These bulbs put on their best bloom the first year.” If you live in an area with lots of squirrels (who doesn’t?), after you plant the bulbs, cover them with a small-opening metal fencing to save them from becoming dinner. Remember to remove this early in the spring to avoid harming the tender shoots. All that’s left to do is enjoy fresh spring flowers in your home!

Bulbs of flowers ready for autumn planting.