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Tips On Fall Gardening
If you have had a successful summer growing season, you can continue growing vegetables with fall gardening. You shouldn’t have to stop growing because of frost. Many different types of vegetables can be grown-up until early winter. Fall gardening is a great way to get more from your garden area and increase your overall harvest. You will be able to enjoy fresh greens into the winter months and more importantly, you will save money on groceries.
The vegetables used during fall gardening are considered cold weather vegetables. This means that they have a higher tolerance for cooler temperatures and can live and thrive even after the first frost. These vegetables include most types of lettuce, spinach, mustard leaves, and cabbage. If your pre-winter temperatures do not go below 40 to 35 degrees, you can also grow broccoli and cauliflower. For cooler climates, you can include rutabagas, turnips, and carrots. Fall gardening is the same as summer gardening. But there are a few tips that can make it a bit easier so that you can have a bigger harvest.
You will never want to place seeds in the garden in the late summer. The temperatures are too hot and rain is usually scarce during this time. Garden pests can be another problem when the weather is hot and the newer plants will not do well under any of these conditions. It is a good idea to start the seeds indoors and start with a stronger, healthier plant to place in the garden.
Place your seeds in small cups of soil. You can use Dixie cups or yogurt cups but make sure that there are holes in the bottom of these containers for water drainage. Place a few seeds in every cup and cover lightly with a bit of soil. Keep these plants watered and in an area that has sunlight. A windowsill is a perfect place for your starter plants. The best time to do this is exactly 12 weeks back from your first predicted frost. But this also depends on how fast the plants grow. For example, lettuce grows at a fast rate, so always read the directions on the seed package to know exactly when to place them in your garden.
When the plants are 4 to 5 inches tall, they are ready for your garden space. Choose a cloudy cooler day to plant them and make sure that the debris from your summer garden is gone. Remove any dead or dying plants and give your new plants fresh soil to grow in. Completely saturate the soil a few times a week, while your new plants are growing.
You should make sure that the types of vegetables you are using are specifically used for fall gardening vegetables. Some brands of all of the winter vegetables are made for different climates or to be grown in milder temperatures. You can ask when purchasing these plants if they are supposed to be used for cold weather crops.
Don’t forget your onions, garlic, and asparagus. They should be planted between September and October and they should be evenly spaced apart to produce healthier plants in the spring. This way, as soon as spring starts, you can begin to harvest your freshly grown vegetables.
If you would like to take it one step further with your fall gardening plants, you can add an organic fertilizer to the soil. Manure, fish emulsion, or compost is a great way to improve the soil and this helps to produce larger healthier vegetables. Due to the cooler temperatures, you will not have to worry about pests and insecticides. This means that your vegetables will be considered organic and this will save you even more at the grocery store.
Preparing Plants For Fall Gardening Crops
It is a good time, to begin with, fall gardening. Warm soil plus cool, damp days encourages many plants to thrive. You should be ready to dig in with these tips for fall gardening.
- Keep spraying roses to control diseases. Deep watering is necessary at least once a week. Do not feed so the plants will start to harden off for winter protection.
- Avoid cutting plants too heavily from now on as they survive winter better if most of the growth is allowed to remain on the plants.
- Herbs such as parsley, rosemary, chives, thyme, and marjoram can be dug from the garden and placed in pots for growing indoors in winter.
- Start improving upon the perennial beds or establish new ones. Prepare soil deeply for new plantings or resetting divisions and add extra organic matter such as cotton burr compost and triple phosphate, which aids in good root development.
- Fall is an ideal time to establish ground covers. Use in shaded areas, steep slopes, or just to reduce the size of the lawn. The same planting procedure is used as in any other planting. Liriope, lily-of-the-valley, low-growing junipers, perennial geraniums, and azaleas are a few recommended plants. To these, add spring bulbs for each color.
- Start preparing houseplants for the indoors.
- Prune back rampant growth and check for pests.
More Fall Gardening Tips
1. Spring Bulbs
Set out crocuses, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths now. If you live on the coast where these bulbs do not get enough cold weather, you could try planting them in pots where they will be more exposed to cold. Of course, your coastal dwellers can buy pre-cooled bulbs, pot them up and bring them indoors to bloom. When planting bulbs in a new bed, mix a slow-release fertilizer such as Holland Bulb Booster (9-9-6) into the soil before planting. Broadcast the fertilizer across the top of established beds as directed on the label.
If you have had problems with voles in your garden, don’t pile mulch against the trunks of trees. Be sure to leave a few inches of bare ground. Even mature trees can be damaged or killed by these burrowing rodents that dine on the sweet cambium layer beneath the bark.
3. Water Gardens
Prune leaves from your water plants, as they turn yellow, and remove fallen tree leaves from the water. Decomposing leaves will rob your fish of oxygen