Fall Planting is Good for the Soul

This piece isn’t going to address everything under the sun (or is it? 😜) as it will be more in line with a general discussion. Many gardens get started with a bang only to be abandoned after the summer months. There’s actually a lot more that can take place to produce more delicious veggies prior to the quiet days of winter.

Should you be dead set on not having a Fall garden perhaps you might consider turning your plot, at the end of summer, then seed a blend of 2 or 3 cover crops for a Fall and Winter cover. Cover crops lessen weed growth and, when incorporated into the garden soil, contribute to improve soil texture and organic matter content. This Fall, we are using a 50/50 blend of annual rye grass and Australian peas.

If you are eager to work in the garden during the Fall months, then consider the following:

Leafy Greens: There are a myriad of delicious leafy greens such as spinach, salad mixes, red leaf salad, romaine, etc. Talk with other gardeners in your area to see what works best.

Cole crops: With some good timing (late summer), set out starts of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., in a spot that receives nice sun but not in a place where plants will be abused by high temps.

Sugar pod peas: These are delicious to eat straight from the plant and make excellent additions to soup, salads and stir fry. Remember to provide a trellis of some sort for these guys as many varieties can reach 5 to 6 ft. in height. Check around for the suited varieties or heirlooms for your area.

Bush beans: Don’t hesitate to gamble on a late crop of 50D to 60D maturing bush beans and experiment with green, reddish and yellow wax types. When you arrive at the last succession planting of beans you might want to consider placing a small plastic tunnel over the crop following thinning and perhaps a side dress of fertilizer. Even if the last planted beans crop doesn’t make it, just shrug it off as a short-lived cover crop.

Berries and Fruit: Fall is also an opportunity to establish a new bed of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. At St. Joseph Street Community Garden, we are establishing two separate beds of strawberries (summer and everbearing types). This past Fall, we planted a 15 ft. row of an erect-thornless-everbearing blackberry. They are doing fine and will be a great addition to our garden! On the fruit side of things, we planted two peach trees and plan to plant two apple and two pear trees in Spring 2022. All are dwarf varieties. However, and because our community garden is relatively small, the tress will be planted around the perimeter of our vegetable beds.

There’s so much more that can be written about his topic as I have only scratched the surface on Fall planting. But, like I said earlier, my idea for this post is to perhaps encourage gardeners to initiate or perhaps expand their gardening efforts with Fall planted crops. In another post, we will address the One-Story Greenhouse and cold frames which aid in extending the garden season in most growing zones.

Don’t be shy and let us know what you think about this post…