Why do we say “Fall is For Planting”?
Fall is an excellent time for planting! But, why exactly? Soil temperatures are still quite warm at the end of summer, as opposed to spring months when winter’s residual cold temperatures are still felt. Organisms are most active when the soil is warm and moist. This warm soil means biologically active soil! You can help feed your soil with the application of mineral and slow release fertilizers in the fall months. This will increase the development of microorganisms which generate available nutrients that plants need for the next growing season.
Natural and organic fertilizer is ideal for enhancing soil fertility and stimulating plant growth in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way that supports plants over a longer time frame than synthetic fertilizer.
Why are Microbes Important for Soil?
Organic matter that plants are unable to use directly will get broken down by microbes into nutrients that are readily available to the plant. This helps plants grow stronger and become more resilient. You can support these microorganisms by adding organic fertilizers, compost, and green manures (cover crops) to your garden. Not only does this create food for microbes that in turn feed your plants, but the addition of these materials helps aerate the soil, promoting root penetration and water drainage.
Fall is also a great time to add minerals to the soil. Fall planted trees, shrubs, and perennials will get the best start possible for a healthy, robust growth spurt in the spring. Azomite, Rock Phosphate, Gypsum, and Limes all take time to be assimilated into usable forms in the soil. Adding them to a living soil and giving them time to develop/feed the soil helps prepare the soil for growing plants in the medium/long range.
All the products listed above are excellent for fall planted or overwintering plants such as brassicas, peas, carrots, beets, garlic, and flowering bulbs.
Potassium (Kelp, Langbeinite) helps with resistance to temperature fluctuations and extremes, and helps plants weather the change and the cold.
How Best to Apply Fertilizer
To best apply fertilizer in the fall, work it into the soil rather than top dressing. Best practice is to apply it around the root zone while planting.