Who would have thought you could have a garden in the fall? Personally, when I think of gardening, I associate it with Spring or Summer. Silly Me!
Growing a garden in the fall can be very rewarding. Many plants actually thrive in the fall. Preparing a fall garden is a little different from preparing your garden in the spring. Several tips will help you to have a successful fall garden.
Clean the Ground and Break Up the Soil
The first tip is to clean the ground and break up the soil. Remove any fallen fruits that could start to rot. Cut back perennials if necessary. You will want to break up the soil where you will be planting. Try to get down several inches into the soil and turn it well. This aerates the soil. It can also destroy larvae, nematodes, and pests like beetles that attempt to overwinter in the soil. Make sure the soil is loose and not overly compacted.
Choose Leafy Greens and Root Vegetables
The plants that respond best the in the fall are leafy greens and root vegetables. These plants do well in the changing light and do not mind slightly colder temperatures. Leafy greens include things like broccoli, kale, and chard. Root vegetables are plants like carrots and beets. Avoid planting anything that needs excessively warm weather and long hours of sunlight unless you are in one of the warmest growing zones.
Mulch If Necessary
You will usually need to place mulch around your fall garden. Mulch does a number of things. It stops weeds from growing, it helps the soil to retain moisture, and it protects plants from unexpected dips in temperature. You want to mulch perennials and open areas. You can mulch around your fall plants as well, once they grow a few inches above the ground.
Make certain to plant early. You generally want to add 10 to 15 days to the amount of time that the seed packets state it will take the plant to mature. You then subtract this number of days from the first frost date for your growing zone. Remember to check whether you are in a microclimate that might have a different frost date. Planting a little early is necessary in fall since the shorter days cause the plants to grow slower.
Good luck with your gardening!
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