Fall Vegetable Gardening

Many gardeners don’t consider gardening in the fall because they are afraid of an early frost. But did you know a fall garden can result in excellent vegetables and will produce crops that extend your yield significantly? Another thing is the vegetables produced from fall gardening are often sweeter and milder than those grown in the summer which will offer you a brand new taste from the same old veggies.

 butterfly gardeningWhat you like to eat and your available space will determine what you choose to grow in your fall garden. It is best though if you pick vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can fully mature and be harvested before the frost arrives. You can usually find the seed packages labeled “early season”, or find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. Another thing, you should get your seeds for your fall garden in the spring or early summer. There usually is not much stock kept towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep just fine until you are ready to use them.

In order to know when you should plant your fall garden you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature. From your frost date back up the time they take to mature and you will know when you need to plant. A good way to tell your frost date is by checking a Farmer’s Almanac. They are really pretty good and will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong.

 butterfly gardeningPrepare your soil for planting by first removing any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Old crop material can end up spreading bacteria and disease if not cleaned up. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients. However, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much. Till the soil well, and then let it set for about 12-24 hours. Now you’re ready to plant.

So what vegetables should you choose?
I think you should consider even crops that enjoy a lot of heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers. They all will produce until frosts hit. This can be well into Oct or Nov. in some areas. Even some plants that usually quit producing towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers can be grown effectively. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well.

 butterfly gardeningHardy, tough vegetables can be grown until the temperature is maybe as low as 20 degrees F. But those that aren’t as strong you will only be able to grow until the first light frost. Remember that root and tuber plants where the tops are killed by a freeze are still edible. They can even be kept in the ground a bit longer if you mulch them well.

Many gardeners don’t even consider fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts. But fall gardening can give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening also gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 4:08 pm and is filed under Ideas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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