This is the list of plants that I planted from late fall (end of October) to mid-December.
- Day Lillies
- Elderberry Shrubs
- Lamb’s ears
- Varigated Bishop’s Weed or Gout Weed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’)
- Wild Ginger
- Two varieties of mint (mountain mint and spearmint)
- Bee Balm, Mondarda, Bergamot
- American Beauty Bush
- Cold Tolerant Hibiscus
- Tea Camilla
- Rose Hip
- Ox-Eye Daisy
- Ornamental Grasses (with the jigsaw seed heads)
- Goldenrod (yes, I replanted goldenrod!)
These were mostly harvested from friends and wildplaces. I did some trading of persimmon paste (processes American persimmons) in exchange for plants this year. In a couple of cases (Rose Hips and Camilla) I purchased from a beloved local nursery (Useful Plants).
Why I love planting in late fall and early winter:
- They transplant easier. Most people think of transplanting in the Spring. That’s often great but the hot weather is more challenging for plants when they are adapting then the cool weather. I find that in the fall the plants adapt more easily, need less water, have less transplant stress, and begin to adjust much more quickly.
- They will be ready to bust out in the Spring. After planting in the fall and winter, I have so much fun imagining the orchestra of new life ready to burst forth in the Spring. The plants will be adapted and put on far more growth during the growing season than if they were planted in the Spring only to adapt during the hot weather.
- It’s a great time to harvest. Friends with extensive perennial gardens are often putting the garden to bed during the fall, which means cutting back, eliminating, culling, and mulching. It’s a great time to visit, to help, and to receive the cast offs.
- They hibernate when it gets very cold. This means no extensive watering, as is often necessary in the warmers months.
I’m also planning on scattering seeds this winter to mimic nature and see if I get a better germination rate. I have the following:
- Castor beans
- Echinacea Purpurea
- Echinacea Angustifolia
- Holy Basil
Please leave a comment if you’ve had good germination with spreading seeds in the fall or winter.
Author: Lee Warren
Lee Warren has been homesteading and farming for more than 25 years. She is the former Executive Director of Organic Growers School and the manager of Imani Farm, a pasture-based cooperative farm in Rutherford County, NC. Lee is also an herbalist, writer, teacher, and food activist, with an avid interest in rural wisdom, sustainable economics, and social justice issues.