Fall is just around the corner, and if you’re planning a fall garden, now is the time to get planting! Here are 4 easy steps to planting a fall garden…
There are lots of great reasons for growing your own food, and planting a fall garden can help you get even more food out of your available garden space. By filling in with cool-weather crops after your spring plantings are finished, you’ll be able to extend your garden season by several extra weeks – or even a few months.
Quick-growing crops are great for providing an easy harvest before frost arrives, and some hardy veggies can even be harvested well into the winter. Here in central Ohio, for example, we often harvest kale, collards, and cabbage all the way into January – or even February. Root veggies like carrots and parsnips may even over-winter in the ground, although we usually try to dig ours before the ground freezes solid, which can make harvesting difficult.
By planting your fall crops at the right time and giving them a bit of protection when needed, you can successfully extend your garden season well past the main summer growing season. In fact, in some areas, a fall garden may be even more healthy and productive than summer plantings, especially if you live in a very warm climate.
Here are 4 simple steps to planting a fall garden:
Remove your dead spring plantings and add them to your compost pile. (If your plants had signs of disease, you should burn them or trash them instead to avoid adding disease-causing organisms back into your soil.)
Prepare your soil by forking in some well-rotted compost, removing any weeds or roots, and raking smooth.
Plant your fall veggies according to package instructions. You can direct-sow your seeds right in the garden, or start them indoors ahead of time. Starting seeds indoors can help give your seedlings a head start before facing the wild outdoors. This can be helpful for certain crops that often have an active pest presence in late summer, such as brassicas. If you do have pests such as caterpillars or cabbage moths in your area, you may want to cover your new seedlings with protective netting after planting them outdoors.
Mulch your fall garden well to prevent weeds, conserve moisture, and protect the soil from weather.
If you have areas of your garden that you won’t be using over the fall and winter, try planting a cover crop to protect the soil and add nutrients back to your garden in the spring.
Here’s a quick visual of the whole process of planting a fall garden:
Image Source: SeedsNow.com