Sometime in late July, many of the vegetables planted in the spring have begun to run their course. Another gardening season has passed. There have been some ups, some downs, and lots of fun. But the fun doesn’t have to stop there! This is where Fall Gardening comes in! You get to try your hand at growing another round of goodies!
5 Steps to a Successful Fall Garden
- The first step begins as any garden season would. Choosing what to plant.
We like to chose several different types of plants, and have a few of each. Its pretty amazing the amount of food you can receive from just a few plants.
There are several plants that actually prefer the colder fall days. Check out this article from The Prairie Homestead with a bunch of information for all the plants that grow best in the fall.
After our fruits and veggies were harvested, we began to prepare our soil.
Some plants, such as asparagus, we keep in the ground. They can continue to produce for several years.
Weeding should be no problem, since we have been diligently working all season, right? Ok, there may be one or two stragglers. Once the gardening bed has been cleared, we add the nutrients. If we just had plants growing in the same area, this is extra important. Since the plants likely took up a majority of the nutrients that were in the soil. We always add compost before planting. Young plants especially seem to love the stuff. We also like to add something to improve soil drainage, such as vermiculite. Fall months can get kind of wet, and we don’t want to drown our plants.
And now, we plant.
We usually start our garden from seeds, since it tends to be cheaper that way. Plus we prefer to be the ones caring for our plants from start to finish. Each plant is different, so be sure to read the label before planting. Generally, most seeds or seedlings should be in the ground about 6 weeks before the first frost.
For this fall garden, we decided to plant: broccoli, carrots, garlic, kale, cabbage, beans, peas.
After the plants are in the ground, don’t forget to add mulch.
For a fall garden, adding mulch could save your young plants. It will give them extra protection from the colder weather. We like to put an inch or so of compost directly on top of the soil. Followed by a few inches of mulch. Our favorite is an organic cedar mulch, since cedar also helps to deter pests.
As they continue to grow, we continue to protect our plants.
The weather during fall is not usually friendly to most plants. As gardeners, we are the guardians of our plants. Come to think of it, maybe it’s not a coincidence that the words are so similar. The fall can bring wind and rain, but does not often bring sunshine. Some types of engineered protection will likely be needed. We simply used a tarp that tied to the top of our trellis and hooked to the opposite side of our garden bed.
It wasn’t the prettiest, by any means. But there are fairly mild seasons on the coast of Humboldt County, California; so our setup worked fine. If you choose to use a tarp like we did, please remember to pull the tarp back when the sun comes out! There are a few days that you might forget, but no worries. If you choose the right plants, they will survive. There are more sophisticated options out there though. Small glass planter boxes (known as cold frames) protect your plants, let the light in, and look really nice! You can even make your own.
And of course there are greenhouses, if you have the space to work with.
This large greenhouse is only $110 on Amazon!
Having a successful fall garden is not much more difficult than gardening in the spring. The most important things are to start as early as possible, and to protect the plants from the elements. As with any garden (really anything in life) there are some things that won’t go as planned. We encourage you, to not get discouraged. Help your plants fight back. And if all else fails, try again next season.