I have been spending the past several weeks poring over seed catalogs, making lists of crops we’d like to try, and mapping out beds on graph paper.
In addition to planning our move from city to homestead, we’ve also spent considerable time planning our fall garden; the planting of which is one of the first items on my to-do list once we settle in.
I love gardening in the fall.
Mention “vegetable garden” and often what comes to mind is the spring/summer planting season. The fall however, is an excellent time to grow veggies and one that should not be overlooked.
Fall weather is friendlier to the plants as well as to the gardener.
If you are in my zone (6b) or anywhere near it you’ve been battling summer temps over 100 sometimes for days on end. Even the warm weather crops such as tomatoes start to peter out when the heat gets too far over 95 for too long. Some days it is just too hot to be working outside, even in the supposedly “cooler” morning and evenings.
Fall crops are less prone to pests.
Veteran gardener Louise Riotte, author of the classic Carrots Love Tomatoes claimed that her fall planted squash was almost entirely insect free.
Crops planted in fall can be extended through the winter, or at least part of it.
Through the use of cold frames, garden cloches, or floating row covers, many crops will continue to grow, providing your table with all sorts of healthy home grown stuff. Lettuce is such an example. As long as the leaves are protected from frost, the lettuce will continue to do just fine. Depending on where you live some crops will continue to grow year ‘round. I have harvested lettuce as late as Feb. which is often when I will then start my spring planting.
If you want to plant a fall garden:
*Contact your local extension office. They will be able to provide you with valuable information specific to your area such as recommended varieties and planting dates. Don’t be shy about giving them a call. That is what they are there for and they are an excellent resource for the home gardener.
*Stay tuned. This is the first in a series of fall gardening posts that will include selecting seeds, favorite fall crops, heirlooms vs. hybrids, and extending the growing season.