Fall Gardening

August 10th, 2012 | Lucinda Moeller | Comments Off on Fall Gardening

August is just the right time to plant a fall garden. Many cool season crops, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts grow best when planted in the fall. In some areas of the country, crops such as lettuce, spinach and kale will grow throughout the winter. In cooler climates, a cold frame or hot box can be used to extend the growing season into late fall.

Preparation:
Start by preparing your planting site. If this is a new garden, prepare your site by removing any grass and weeds from the surface of the soil. Next you should till the soil about 6” deep, using a spading fork or tiller. If you’re planting in an existing plot, remove any summer crop plants that are done for the year to make some room. Whether it is a new garden plot, or an existing one, add organic amendments such as compost, or composted manure, and till them into the loose soil.

Planting:
Plant your seeds or plants early this month to give them a good start before the weather starts getting chilly. You may want to give your plants a bit of mulch to protect them from drying out during the last few hot weeks of summer. The mulch will also help keep the soil warm as the weather starts to cool. Here is a partial list of vegetables that you can plant right now:

– asparagus crowns
– beets
– broccoli
– brussel sprouts
– cabbage
– carrots
– cauliflower
– collards
– garlic
– kale
– lettuces
– onions
– radishes
– spinach
– turnips

Cold Frames and Hot Boxes:
Cold frames and hot boxes are bottomless wooden boxes with a clear lid that can be raised for ventilation and access. These are usually placed in a spot with a good southern exposure to make the most of the weak winter sunlight. Cold frames can extend your growing season by weeks, or even months. Hot boxes are cold frames with either a heating element placed under the soil, or with a thick layer of uncomposted manure that heats up the soil as it composts. Horse manure is preferred over cow manure, due to having less viable weed seeds in it.

Make the most of the season with organic veggies from you own fall garden. Best of luck!