Hi Friends! I know a lot of you have abundant gardens during the summer, but did you know you can continue to have fresh veggies in the Fall? My friend, Christy Wilhelmi, author of Gardening for Geeks, has graciously agreed to share some awesome Fall gardening tips and ideas with us!
Fall Gardening: The Most Wonderful Time!
When it comes to gardening, many people don’t think about growing something in the fall, but in fact it is the best time to grow many of your favorite veggies. In climates where the first frost strikes in late October or November (and of course, in places that get no frost at all) now is the time to plant cool weather crops.
This season, heirloom lettuces take center stage along with herbs like cilantro, parsley and thyme. These veggies like warm weather to germinate and cooler weather to mature. You’ll have fresh greens at the ready all through April if you plant in succession every two weeks. Don’t forget your brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kohl rabi, Brussels Sprouts, etc. They can be direct-seeded in the garden in warm weather climates, or started indoors to ensure a bug-free environment.
Here is a more complete list of things to put in your vegetable garden this season:
Lettuces: loose-leaf and head varieties
Greens: arugula, mustard greens, collards, spinach, and Swiss chard.
Herbs: parsley – flat and curly, cilantro, thyme, fennel, mint, rosemary, sorrel, and lovage.
Brassicas: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and kohl-rabi.
Root vegetables & tubers: carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, potatoes and radishes.
Bulb Vegetables: onions, green onions, and garlic! Grow your year’s supply of garlic in as little as 4 square feet.
Vines: Peas, and sweet peas (for color).
Green manure crops: these are cover crops that lock in nitrogen and that build up the soil: fava beans, clover, hairy vetch, and grains like oats. Dedicate one bed per fall season for this wonderful soil builder and you will have a loamy soil foundation to start with in spring.
Plant now before the weather gets cooler. Use floating row covers to protect crops from cabbage moths and Bagrada bugs. In cooler climates, use insulated garden fabric to protect crops from frost or plant inside a cold frame and mulch heavily to keep soil warm. You’ll enjoy fall’s offering of green, green, green and you’ll eat it up all winter long!
Christy Wilhelmi is founder of Gardenerd, and author of Gardening for Geeks. She is a board member of Ocean View Farms Organic Community Garden in Mar Vista, California, and gardens almost entirely with heirloom vegetables. Christy helps people grow their own food through classes, consulting and food garden design. Her writing has appeared in Edible Westside Magazine, The Good Food Blog, Low Impact Living.com and Urban Farm Magazine.