Getting ready for A fall garden


Summer is almost over and it will be time to get ready to grow a garden in Fall.  Growing vegetables in Fall and into winter is actually easier than growing in summer. There are so many cool-season crops to grow such as cabbage, lettuce, mustard greens, and others. Summer brings heat, pests and weeds, which are not usually a problem growing in fall. Some plants are grown year-round, depending on the zone you live in.

fall leaves

Protection from the cold

If you live in an area that is cold, protecting your garden would be beneficial to continue growing into the winter months. There are many options that will help prolong your garden way into winter months.

A Hoop House is flexible conduit pipes that are bent over the garden beds and covered with clear plastic sheets. These are normally sold at garden supply companies. This will increase the soil temperatures and trap the heat from the sun during the day and releases it at night to keep the plants growing longer during the season.

Cold Frames

A Cold Frame is a frame around a bed. This normally is raised with a lid that basically allows sunlight to filter in and heat the interior but keep out the cold. They have slanted tops to allow more of the sun’s rays to go into the box. Being the fall and winter have fewer daylight hours. During warm weather days, the lid would be opened. Another option is if you are planting in pots just bring them indoors in a garage or shed at night.

A Greenhouse is an ultimate cold weather protection.

If you are lucky enough to have the room or money to build and have a greenhouse that is the ultimate luxury to growing during cold weather. You can grow just about anything you want all year in a greenhouse. It takes a lot of daily work though to maintain the temperature and humidity. A green house can be elaborate and as large as you want or a small 6×8 one that you built yourself.

Preparing your soil and seeds.

Now that you have the protection down you need to prepare your soil just as you would for spring. First, you will need to till the dirt. However, if you are using a raised bed simply turn the dirt over. It is best to add some fertilizer. If you want to get a jump on your planting the best thing is to start your seeds inside at least 4-6 weeks before planting in your garden. If your soil is dry, water first before planting.

Easy cold weather Vegetables

Cabbage is a very easy vegetable to grow in cool weather you can start the seeds inside or plant directly in the soil. These you can plant in August and they take about 55-100 days for a full head. Your only pests to be on the look out for is cabbage worms, looper worms or inch worms. They are some of the worse pests. Keep an eye out for them they will attack and go through to the core. Wood ashes around the cabbage help deter these pests, for a organic remedy then sevin dust. Cabbage is extremely easy to grow with a lot of benefits.

cabbage

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is actually a beet but without the root. These plants are very easy to grow. They do good in hot weather even in drought conditions. It is an excellent cool weather plant. it will produce way into winter in some areas as long as you have a layer of mulch around the plant. You can start 4-6 weeks before planting or direct sow the seeds. If you have high acid soil it does not do well in that. In 55-65 days you can start to harvest the leaves and they can be frozen like spinach.

Collards, Mustard Greens & Turnips

Collards, Mustard greens, and Turnips are popular here where I live in the South. These are staple foods in cold weather months. Normally you will see on the side of the roads around the country people selling bunches from their gardens. These vegetables can be grown up north as well. You can direct seed sow these in the garden and they take 85-90 days from seed to harvest.

Lettuce

Lettuce is easy you just need cool temperature and direct seed sow is normally the way to go, You can start inside if you have the room. There are so many varieties that to choose from for a fantastic selection to eat. They take 40-55 days from seed to harvest.

Its trial and error

Whatever zone you live in you will have plants that may do well for you that don’t do well elsewhere in other zones. Plant several varieties and see what works for you. Having a fall garden still allows you to grow food and continue your garden therapy.

Happy Fall Gardening.

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