More and more homeowners are growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs. With the summer behind us, you may think that gardening season is over as well. The good news is with a few simple steps, you can keep your green thumb going and enjoy fresh, inexpensive and great tasting produce all year long.
Step 1: Choose the right crops
Selecting the right crops has a lot to do with your regionalized fall weather. Factors like the length of the season and when the first frost will likely hit are important considerations when selecting items for your second season plantings. Popular and fast-maturing vegetables that ideal for fall gardening include broccoli, lettuce, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks and beets. Some people even claim crops like kale and turnips taste better after the first frost. Since you’re already getting your hands dirty, fall is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little outdoor work now will reward you with beautiful flowers in the spring.
Step 2: Prep your space
If you plan to use your current garden space for your fall garden, remove the early-season plants that are done producing and add to your compost bin or create a new compost pile. Next, prepare your garden space with elevated garden beds for more accurate temperature regulation and ease of tending your crops. Add a shade netting to protect plants on hot days and cover the entire bed when frost is a threat.
Step 3: Enjoy daily
The most successful fall gardens are checked daily for pests and proper soil moisture, although you’ll typically find fewer bothersome bugs and better soil water retention in the colder months. Pick the fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ready, maybe plucking a few extra to avoid overcrowding and increase your yield. Finally, sit back and enjoy your fresh, delicious produce.
Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening momentum alive. In as little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you've ever had, all while under the gorgeous autumn sun.