Fall Gardening in your Home Garden
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. There are many different types of vegetables that 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 basically 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. 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, 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.
Why Do Leaves Fall in Autumn?
The question may sound funny, but have you ever asked yourself? And it leads to another question: why do conifers never lose his leave. Let’s have a scientific look around!
The falling of leaves in the autumn is proof that nature is intelligent! Most trees don’t lose their leaves on a whim – they do so out of necessity. This mechanism of falling leaves is, in fact, vital for the tree’s survival, allowing it to protect itself from the winter cold.
To Best Confront the Cold, Trees Must Slow Down Their Growth
Everything which uses up energy is therefore sacrificed. Like the trunk, the branches and the roots are well isolated from the cold, they need hardly any energy to stay alive. Leaves, on the other hand, consume enormous amounts of energy in an effort to resist the cold. To save energy, these sources of energy waste are therefore eliminated by the tree.
The alarm is sounded off when the weather becomes colder and the days shorter. The leaves contain sensors which send this information to the tree by producing an excess of ethylene. The tree senses that the cold is coming back and it secretes a plethora of small corks which appear in the leaves’ peduncles, thereby cutting off the supply of sap.
Leaves and Nutrients
The leave has thus their supply of water and mineral salts severed and are therefore unable to produce chlorophyll by photosynthesis. They gradually change color from green to their original red and orange color. When they become too weak, they dry out and fall naturally with the first gusts of wind. The scars that they leave on the branch are quickly filled in by a fine layer of isolating cork.
The tree thus isolated can now concentrate its sap in its vital organs to better fight off the cold weather. This natural mechanism can be seen every autumn in regions which undergo temperatures which vary greatly with the seasons.
Conifer trees are better armed to protect themselves against the cold. Their leaves are covered with a fine layer of isolating wax, rendering them harder and stronger than the leave of other types of trees. They also possess particular substances which make them more resistant to the cold. As they protect themselves naturally, they are not considered as energy-wasting elements. Therefore, the tree allows them to survive because they don’t prevent it from slowing down its growth in winter.
What to Do With Those Fall Leaves — Compost Them!
Fall has arrived and with it falling leaves. Instead of raking and putting them into plastic bags (and filling up our landfills) turn them into magic — compost magic. A compost pile can turn those fall leaves into fertile soil for your garden. Build your compost pile in a convenient but inconspicuous location — preferably near your garden. Make sure the location is near a water source and drains well. The size of the pile is important for proper composting. Piles should be at least 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. If you have more material, make the pile about 5 feet wide. If you live in a small area or do not have adequate material for a compost pile, tumblers and bins can be bought or made to speed up the process.
A compost pile consists of many layers of material. Layers should consist of brown material –all those fallen leaves and green material — kitchen scraps, grass clippings, green plants. An equal amount of brown and green material is necessary for rapid and proper decomposition of materials. Once you have added the green and brown material, moisten, but do not soak the pile. The pile also needs to be turned and mixed. This keeps the pile aerated and will speed up decomposition. If the pile is large, moistened and turned usable compost is usually ready in four to six weeks.
Although it seems summer will never end, fall is right around the corner and now is a good time to think about fall flowers. Late planting of summer annuals such as marigolds, zinnias, periwinkles, and coleus will provide some great fall color that may last up through November depending on when we have our first frost. Since temperatures are still very hot, be sure to water the plants very well for the first couple of weeks to help them adjust to transplanting and the heat. In addition to putting out summer annuals, now is the time to start seeds of hardy fall/winter annuals and perennials such as pansy, daisy, rudbeckia, dianthus, foxglove, and purple coneflower. One of the most popular fall garden plants, the chrysanthemum, should be arriving in garden centers soon – be sure to get some for your fall garden.
Preparing Plants For Fall Gardening
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.
- 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.
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