Time to Prepare for Fall Gardening

Time to Prepare for Fall Gardening

Time to Prepare for Fall Gardening 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

The garden season here in the Midwest is at its peak and it is now time to pull the summer plants that are done producing and plant those that will bring you into a harvest in the fall. These can include numerous vegetables and even though it is hard to pull foliage that still looks good, getting a head start on succession planting will ensure harvesting before estimated frost dates. Fall plants can include peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and kale. Tomato plants and pepper plants are in their prime and will continue to produce well into the fall months so they can be left alone to do what they do best in warmer weather, grow and produce. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing and planting your succession harvest.

Location! Location!

Lettuce is one vegetable I like to have all summer. It can be sowed continually as long as it has a certain amount of shade to cool the soil. If the soil is too hot lettuce seeds will not germinate. If you do get some growth, the heat can still make them bolt early so location is important. Mulching or planting lettuce near towering plants will ensure enough shade to encourage growth. Looking for lettuce seeds that tolerate heat will also help in maintaining lettuce all season long. Some examples include Green salad bowl, Black Seeded Simpson, Summer Bibb and little Gem. These are a variety of lettuce and include bibb, leaf, and romaine types. With the cooler temps going into the fall, lettuce will grow like it did in the spring. Sometimes I seed lettuce in smaller containers and transplant when space opens up in the garden. If it is a mild fall, having fresh greens for the Thanksgiving table is very likely.

Temperature

Beans! Beans! And more Beans! Love this plant! It can be harvested and pulled and planted again to have a nice crop of beans in the fall. I like to change it up sometimes and plant different varieties. I have to say, though, my favorite one is the bush blue lake that takes only 58 days to mature and has amazing flavor. It is very tender and very good! When I pull the plants that are done producing I make sure to add compost even though beans add a good deal of nitrogen to the soil. The added boost ensures another healthy crop. Because I have planted in the summer the seedlings are a little slower to surface. Do not be discouraged they will pop up before you know it and least expect it. Bush and pole beans love warmer temperatures so by the time they are planted mid-summer they will be ready to pick for fall.
Carrots are another vegetable that you can start again or ones that you can plant every two weeks. Because of the variety of carrots out there choosing one that matures quickly is ideal to getting a second crop. When pulling carrots, planting more seeds is what you should be doing along with composting to ensure proper growth. A couple varieties that do well are the Little Fingers (57 days) and the Short and Sweet. (68 days)

Transplants

Having transplants available whether they are bought at a nursery or seeded by you in another location is important if your summer vegetables are not quite done growing and producing. By the time you are ready to pull your summer plants you will have the fall ones already germinated and ready to plant. A great example of this is broccoli. Having Kale and spinach for transplanting is also helpful in getting a head start on late summer growing. I usually start my seeds in trays and leave on the deck until I am ready to transplant. No hardening off needed this time. Because I garden in elevated self-watering garden beds this becomes a very important tip to keep the garden producing. I say this because with these kinds of beds the summer plantings can continue to grow healthy to the point that you have missed your opportunity to start fall plants.

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler it is important to consider plants that like cooler night temps. Broccoli, lettuce and kale as well as carrots and spinach will all thrive into the fall for a wonderful harvest. Tomatoes and peppers will eventually look like death towards the end of the season but will still produce just not as much. Like anything you grow in the garden season, it eventually gets tired and stops growing which paves the way for new plantings. “Fall is in the air” is heard as soon as the temperatures dip and the footballs fly. And just like Spring fever we all eventually look forward to cooler days, warmer drinks and bountiful harvests.