3Q's: Gary Bachman, professor of horticulture

By NEMS Daily Journal

Gary Bachman, an assistant extension professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, shared some thoughts on fall gardening with the Journal’s home and garden writer Ginna Parsons. Bachman’s “Southern Gardening” column appears in the Daily Journal Home & Garden section twice a month.

Q: I want to have a fall vegetable garden but don’t have a lot of room. What can I grow successfully in containers?
A: My first thoughts are going toward leafy greens, like baby leaf lettuce, spinach, bok choy works well, mesclun and arugula. These are short turn-around, quick crops. Broadcast seeds on top of a pot of potting soil and a week later, do another pot. Basically, you’ll have a rotation going and you could have a constant supply of lettuce all season. Start your seeds right now. And when you start getting a hard freeze, move the pots inside, and then put them back outside. Container gardening is something anybody can do and do successfully.
Q: Are September, October and November OK months to plant trees, shrubs and other perennials?
A: It’s not just an OK time, it’s the preferred time to plant trees and shrubs. The reason is the roots are still going to be growing most of the fall and winter as long as the soil isn’t frozen. Then spring is another growing season before the stress of summer comes. As long as you can dig the soil, you can plant. The end of October is when you want to plant tulips and daffodils – any of the spring flowering bulbs.
Q: When my fall mums have played out, do I just take them out of the pot and put them in the ground so they’ll come back next year?
A: If you like that mum, then go ahead and plant it in the garden. As long as it has green leaves, it’s still alive. If a lot of the foliage is brown, cut it back by a half. Stick it in the ground and let those roots regenerate and keep your fingers crossed. Those gorgeous mums you buy to put on your front porch – those are bred in containers for one season. It’s the landscape mums that are made to go in the ground that you should get several years out of.