This year’s Annual Fall Plant Sale would normally be held this weekend at the Galveston County Fairgrounds in Hitchcock. But this has not been a normal year.
While the onsite version of the Annual Fall Plant Sale had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Master Gardeners have diligently made plans to offer an online version of the Annual Fall Plant Sale. Visit the Master Gardeners’ home page (https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston) for plant availability and prices. Click on the Online Fall Plant Sale icon to start perusing plants to be offered. Gardeners can actually start making purchases from Friday, October 16, at 8:00 a.m. through Saturday, October 17, at 8:00 p.m.
After finalizing their purchases, shoppers will be able to select pick-up times that are staggered to ensure meeting CDC guidelines for COVID-19 practices. Shoppers will not need to get out of their vehicles during pick up of their purchases. The Master Gardeners have already conducted two small-scale online sales to ensure that this year’s Online Annual Fall Plant Sale will operate smoothly.
The offerings at this year’s Online Fall Plant Sale will include perennials for the home landscape. Fall is an ideal time to plant perennials in home landscapes. The Upper Gulf Coast has several months of cooler temperatures and dependable moisture from October through April.
Perennials planted during fall will have time to establish a good root system during these more moderate conditions. This head start supports strong growth, long-term health and overall plant vigor.
The fall and winter seasons present fewer pest problems as well. All in all, there are fewer sources of stress (such as heat, fluctuations in soil moisture levels, and insect pressure) on specimens planted in the fall.
As one of my gardening friends commented: “Gardening with perennials is like painting with a full palette of colors, textures, forms and fragrances.” Think of your home landscape as a canvas — then create your perennial garden of color that pumps out beautiful foliage and flowers for years to come.
The selection of perennials that will be offered at this year’s event will augment local landscapes with an amazing variety of color, texture, size, shape and versatility. Many of the selections are suitable for habitat gardens to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Weather forecasts for this week predict day time highs in the mid-eighties and mid-seventies and night time temperatures to be rather pleasant. Cooler days over the next several weeks will make it a joy to get out and work in the home vegetable garden, and better yet, plant an array of delicious and nutritious vegetables that will thrive in the fall planted garden.
Indeed, some of our favorite vegetables can be grown here with the arrival of cooler weather conditions.
Now, for some of the cool-season vegetables that will be available through the Online Fall Plant Sale. My gardening friends know that broccoli is at the top of my list for vegetables to grow in the fall garden. I recommend that gardeners try growing broccoli as this vegetable is remarkably easy to grow in our area. When planted in October, gardeners can expect to be harvesting broccoli by early December.
I include broccoli in my fall garden at home and it has never failed to produce. I even plant broccoli among some perennials in the front lawn. I have yet to get a letter from my Homeowners Association for violating HOA rules since broccoli provides a very attractive addition to the drab winter landscape with its board green leaves. That might change after this column is printed so stay posted. I am figuring that the broccoli will have matured and been harvested by the time any sharp-eyed inspector wises up to my approach.
In addition to broccoli, many other types of cool season vegetables will be on sale including cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, pok choi, spinach and Swiss chard. All of these can also be transplanted now through mid-November.
Other plants that will be available include bromeliads, bulbs, cacti and succulents, citrus, figs, ornamental grasses, hanging baskets, herbs, hibiscus, shrubs, trees, vines and even a selection of clearance items.
As you can surmise, the 2020 Online Fall Plant Sale will have something of interest to all gardeners. Proceeds from plant sales are used toward development and maintenance of the Discovery Garden located in Carbide Park.
The Master Gardeners’ 2020 Annual Fall Plant Sale will be offered online and will feature a wide variety of plants for the home landscape and garden ranging from vegetable transplants, perennials, bulbs and angel trumpets.
PHOTO CREDIT FOR ALL PHOTOS: William M. Johnson