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Successful Homesteading, Issue # 53, Fall Gardening Tip for a Productive Fall Garden
September 12, 2016

Issue #53, September 12, 2016

Fall Gardening Tip for Your Most Productive Fall Garden Ever

As the days get cooler, you may have thought your gardening days were over for the year, and that your options for fresh organic produce were limited to the nearby grocery store. Not so! Did you know you can get an even better quality produce in the fall, than in the spring?

That's because your soil breaks down nutrients much more slowly in the cooler months, with more nutrients for your plants to absorb. As a result, plants grown in the fall are more nutritious and healthier.

Planting a Fall Garden

And yes, you can still plant seeds in your fall garden, right now, provided they are the type that go from planting to harvest in less than 60 days. That means you can grow peas, radishes, turnips, beets, spinach, carrots and Swiss chard.

Take a few extra steps, and you can ensure a faster sprouting time, and a far healthier plant, despite the cooler temperatures. If you have leftover seeds from the spring (and I'm assuming you have stored them properly), then soak those seeds overnight to encourage germination.

Fall Gardening Tip

Instead of simply digging a small hole and burying your seeds, dig a three-inch trench along the entire length of your garden bed. Place the soaked seed in the bottom of the trench and then cover them with half an inch of soil. Cover that with another inch of peat moss. Finally cover the trenches with one of those lightweight fabric row covers that allows the sunlight in, but also keeps the cooler air out.

Once the plants have grown taller than the ditch, remove the cover and mulch your plants to keep the moisture in and the cool air out.

By the way, you can also grow potatoes, although you will need to cut them into 1-inch chunks and allow the chunks to cure by placing them in a cool, dry place for three to five days.

Just as you would in the spring, you will need to water regularly and check your garden daily for pests. If you find any nasty critters eating away at your plants, deal with them right away. You can pull them off and destroy them or you can spray your plant leaves with a mixture of water, soap, cayenne pepper and vinegar.

What About Other Vegetables?

Just about anything can be grown in a fall garden, but vegetables that take longer to mature, such as broccoli and corn should be started indoors. It may be too late to grow broccoli this years, but because it does even better in the fall than in the spring, keep it in mind for next year, and start your seeds indoors in July.

Other Cool Weather Growing Methods

Lettuce and other leafy greens will do well in a cold frame and they're easy to build. All it takes is a few cinder blocks or straw bales and a window. Place your cold frame right next to the south side of the house. That way the winter sun will reflect off the siding and add warmth to your cold frame. Start your lettuce in November to ensure you have plenty of leafy greens in December and January.

And don't forget, you can also garden indoors, by using a garden tower or using a hydroponics or aquaponics system.

Here's to a productive and tasty fall!

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Sue Merriam

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