It seems a lot of gardeners stop working their soil and growing food once the tomatoes have fallen over and stopped producing. But, did you know that gardening in the fall is just as productive and as much fun as growing tasty fruits, veggies and herbs in the spring and summer months?
I believe a lot of people forgo fall gardening because they have been at the activity for many months and just need a break. On the flip side of that, they go full steam ahead in the spring because of the long cold winter.
Does the above sound familiar? If this describes you, reduce the amount of what you are going to grow in the fall to a couple of items that you like to eat. Maybe a couple of heads of lettuce, a few carrots or some radish is all you need.
Regardless of whether you are going to go all out this fall or just grow a few items, here are some tricks that can make fall gardening a bit more productive and a lot more fun.
ENRICH THE SOIL
Before you get those fall plants growing, be sure to enrich your soil with plenty of compost. This is especially important if you are using the same area to grow your fall veggies in that you used for your summer crops. Mix in well aged compost and you will be good to go.
MOIST AND WELL FED SOIL
The amount of time you have for fall gardening is more than likely limited. Be sure to keep that soil moist at all times, not saturated, and water first thing in the morning after the sun has risen. Also, feed your plants regularly. I recommend every 4 to 5 days. Some think that is overkill, but feeding a good organic fertilizer such as diluted worm tea, manure tea or compost tea will do the trick without harming the plants.
PLANT YOUR GARLIC NOW
Many gardeners wonder when they should plant garlic and the answer is early to mid September. If you are in a cooler zone like me, (zone 7a here), plant your garlic two inches into the soil, pointed end UP, and cover with an inch to 2 inches of mulch. By mid October the garlic will sprout and that’s a good thing. Then it will over winter and be ready for harvest by midsummer.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to growing things in the fall. I mentioned a few earlier. My favorites to grow in the fall are lettuce, spinach, kale and carrots. All do well in the cooler months and mature quickly. Garlic is the exception where I plant in the fall knowing I won’t be able to harvest until next summer.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts