With brisk autumn air just around the corner, you may already be smelling the pumpkin spice and apple cider in the air. But before fall is firmly in place, it’s time to start your fall garden. With fall’s cooler air, warmer soil and fewer garden pests, it’s a great time to grow, but only if you get your planting done first. For most parts of the country, that’s mid-August to mid-September, depending on the plants you’re going to put in place.
How to Get Started With a Productive Fall Garden
Let’s start by looking at what kind of time you have left for growing. Look up the average first frost date for your area and count backwards from that date to determine about how many weeks or days of frost-free weather you have left. That’s not necessarily the end of your growing time, but it will limit some plants. Hardy brassicas, beets and spinach will do well even after light frosts.
(brassicas do well in a fall garden)
What kind of plants do well in the fall? Brassicas, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts do well in fall’s cool weather, when there’s a reduced threat of cabbage worms. You can get production out of cool-season root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beets, turnips and parsnips. Lettuce, herbs and other greens do well in the fall, including spinach, a late-fall favorite that produces down into the mid-20s.
Before planting, don’t forget to add nutrients to the soil that has worked hard all year! Liquid plant foods deliver a much-needed pick-me-up for your hard-working garden soils. Simply add them around your planting time to ensure your new plants have everything they need for a successful fall growing season.
Now it’s time to consider protective equipment. Though this sounds complicated, it’s really nothing more than lightweight fabric such as old bedsheets, or light paper such as newspapers that haven’t been brought down for recycling yet. If you’ve got a threat of frost, cover your more tender plants with these materials before the frost, which will often provide protection for a few degrees below freezing. But that’s not your only option!
Did you set up a misting system this summer to protect your plants from heat? It can do double-duty now to protect your plants from light frosts. Leave it running overnight and the warmer water will heat up the area directly around your plants, providing a zone of protection. Smudging is another option, leaving a smouldering pile of damp leaves burning overnight to provide warm smoke for your garden plants during light frosts.
By starting with your fall garden now, you can still get plenty of production out of your garden during the comfortable autumn months. If you’re ready to get started, why not see what Redbud Soil Company can provide you with to help make the process easy? Raised bed planters, soil amendments and plenty of good advice are always on hand, just contact us today to get started.