The summer is over and it may seem time to put your gardening gloves away, but fall’s mild temperature is the perfect condition for cool season crops. Fast growing salad vegetables like spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, broccoli, and Swiss chard don’t mind the cooler weather. Not only do you get to keep eating fresh food a little longer it can also be easier to grow these foods with less insects, less diseases, and less watering.
The first step in creating your fall garden is to determine when you should plant your seeds. Find out when the first frost is supposed to happen in your area. Then subtract how long it takes to harvest the vegetable in question. Then subtract two weeks since plants grow a little slower in the fall. So if your first frost is November 21 and your plants take 30 days to mature then you’d need to plant them by October 7.
Once you figure out the “when” you’ll need to prepare your garden for your new crop. You’ll want to remove all the plants that are already harvested or are dead or dying. Also, pull any weeds in the garden. This will make sure you don’t have any plants pulling moisture away from your vegetables.
Once the garden is ready it’s time to plant some seeds. If you used the same containers from the spring make sure to clean them to reduce disease transfer. If it’s hot out still in your area, start your seeds inside in a cool area and then move them outdoors when it gets cooler.
Make sure your crops are well watered. Once the plants are established do one deep watering a week. Until then a few lighter watering’s will suffice. If frost begins, make sure to protect your plants from the frost with a blanket over the garden. Some plants such as beets, broccoli, kale, carrots, leeks and swiss chards, actually fair very well during a frost. . Not only can they survive frost (if well covered) they can actually taste better if allowed to grow past the first frost.
If you have any questions or need to pick up seeds and other gardening supplies please stop by any one of our Friedman’s Home Improvement locations. We can help you be prepared for your fall garden.