We love gardening. We have devoted almost all of our free time to raising a spring garden that soon turned into a summer garden. Like many of you we grew tomatos, cucumbers, squash, peppers, and green beans. Our garden did well for a while but soon the heat of the summer sun scorched the earth and left our beautiful crop looking frazzled. Fortunately we have several other options for gardening as the summer gives way to fall.
Fall is a wonderful time of the year. The temperatures are cooler and the soil is ready to give you all it has! However gardening in the fall is a bit different than gardening in the spring and summer. Sure the temperature levels are similar in fall and spring, but the chances of frost and heavier rain make fall a more difficult time to grow. What you need to understand about this time of year is that you are not going to be able to grow the same kinds of foods.
A fall garden is going to be filled with root vegetables such as beets, parsnips, and carrots. These vegetables are hardy and able to withstand the cool temperatures that fall will bring. Obviously if you live further south then you will have fewer cool spells. Other options for a fall garden include kale, broccoli, spinach, and even lettuce. Summer crops such as squash and cucumbers are not going to thrive in these conditions but the heartier leafy vegetables will do just fine. In fact, the frost has a way of making the kale and spinach even sweeter.
Always make sure when you start your fall garden that you have properly removed all the weeds and grass in the area. They love your open and bare garden and they will rob your plants of vital nutrients and water. Once you have done that all you need to do is add some organic compost or soil to the garden. The idea is to add as much nutrient dense material as possible. This will give your plants a better chance at life and it will increase the yield of your garden.
Speaking of plants, it is important that you start your garden with plants and not seeds. While seeds might be a good option in the spring and summer, the limited growing season in fall means you need to utilize the benefits of a plant over a seed. This will help your plant to survive longer and to produce more crops.
Fall is also a time in the year when rain increases. We love rain. Our gardens love rain. However too much rain can lead to plant rot and loss of vegetation. In order to prevent root rot and issues related to too much moisture, you might consider making your garden a raised bed variety. By bringing your garden up off the ground a mere 8 inches you give your garden a better chance to drain thoroughly and to grow well. Plus, when you raise the bed of the garden you have the option of filling in the garden with organic soils and composts.
Fall is a time when you might consider adding a greenhouse to your garden. This is a wonderful way to keep your plants from experiencing the pains of winter and all the snow and ice that comes with it. Plus the greenhouse is a wonderful way to turn your garden from a fall garden into a yearlong garden. If a green house is not in your plans then you might consider adding some type of shade for your plants. The shade will help keep the frost from kissing them and it will even help in the rare times when the temperature soars.
Have you tried gardening in the fall? Which plants were most successful for you?