Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fall Gardening 101

The beginning of August may seem too early to talk about fall but if you want to get into fall gardening, now is the time to start. I don't mean start planning, I mean get out there and plant stuff. If you haven't gotten into fall gardening before, you should try it. Harvesting fresh vegetables in October and November is really great.

First, you have to know when your first frost date is. That's when you're most likely to have a first killing frost. Here in south central PA, the date is October 21st. To find your frost date, go to Look on the seed packets to see how many days they need to ripen. Then you can count backward to figure out when you have to plant them. For instance, I just planted peas and they require 65 days to ripen. So I know I have more than enough time.

Second, you have to plant cold hearty vegetables. Many of the veggies you planted last march will work great now. Great selections  for fall include: peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, and beats. These plants will thrive in cooler temperatures.

Third, do what you can to keep the seeds cool during the hot August days. Probably the hardest part of fall gardening is keeping your seedlings well watered. When the seedlings get three to four inches tall, you can thin them out and mulch them to help keep the soil cool and moist.

As a side note, October is the best time to be planting garlic. It won't ripen till the following July, but it is SO GOOD. So, try some garlic.

And that, my friends, is it. If you want to extend your harvest even longer into the winter, you can use row covers to keep the frost off. It's not hard. It's not expensive. You can do it and enjoy delicious vegetables this fall. Have you ever gotten into fall gardening? Please write about it in the comment section below!

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