Tips for Growing a Garden in the Fall
Tips for starting a garden in the fall range from knowing when to plant your seeds to sowing and actually planting them. Other tips include deciding what you want to plant, managing soil fertility, and proper watering techniques.
Know When to Plant
The first step to growing a garden in the fall is knowing when to plant. Each region has the perfect planting window for fall plants. These plants require a certain amount of time to mature when the weather is still warm. However, if you plant them too early in the season, the heat will stunt their growth and some of them may send up flower stalks and begin to seed, causing the edible parts of the plant to become bitter and tough.
To determine the best planting window, research the average date of when the first frost arrives in your region. Once you have this information, check your fall plant’s seed packets for the number of days it takes them to reach maturity. Subtract that number from the average date of the year’s first frost. Many people will find August and September are ideal for beginning a fall garden.
Deciding What to Plant
While you have many choices when it comes to deciding what to plant, not everything grows well during these later months. Popular options that can handle the cooler weather include lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, and brussels sprouts.
Knowing How to Manage Soil Fertility
Along with producing healthy food for your dinner table, your fall garden gives you the chance to manage the fertility of your soil. It may even work to control weeds. If you plant greens like arugula, turnips, and mustard, they’ll grow broad leaves that shade the ground and prevent weeds from growing. To make your soil even more fertile, enrich it with aged manure or compost. This step replenishes the micronutrients in the soil, giving your plants a strong start.
Water Your Fall Plants Properly
Growing a garden in the fall requires water and knowing how to use it. If your soil is dry, then slow-growing vegetables like carrots and beets may have a hard time maturing. The best solution is to install a soaker hose prior to planting. Test your soaker hose by laying it out in different areas. Turn it on to see how well each spot is covered and then choose its permanent location accordingly. Hold it in place with stakes or garden staples.
Sow and Plant
When it comes to growing a garden in the fall, the easiest way to start fall plants is to use flats instead of sowing them directly into the soil. Start your seeds in a partially shaded spot outside or in a sunny place inside. Once your soil is ready and the time is right, plant your seedlings, but be sure to wait until your plants have at least two leaves already growing. While warm weather veggies like squash, cucumbers. and tomatoes require a lot of space, fall plants tend to be smaller, so you can plant more of them, increasing your fall garden’s production of tasty vegetables.