Planting Your Fall Garden!
Summer is winding down, and your garden has reached the end of its life, so now your growing season is over, right? Nope, it's time to get your GROW ON for Fall!
Like most people, I thought that the only time I could grow a garden was in the summer. Through studying gardening, permaculture, and year-round growing systems, I've learned that I CAN grow fresh food throughout the year! Here are some things you need to know to help you grow food all year long! It's rather hard to imagine planing a fall garden when you are still getting tomatoes, peppers, and summer squash in, but now is the time!
Growing food all year is possible when you figure out the following:
Learn which growing zone you are in.
For my fellow community members in the United States, this can be found on the USDA website. planthardiness.ars.usda.gov There you will see a zone map like this one below, find your state, then your geographical area. I am in Zone 7b; therefore, I have, on average warmer temperatures throughout the year. *You will also see a similar growing zone map on the back of most seed packs. If you are buying potted plants, they will also list a growing zone on the tag/pot. Be careful and research your plant first, though. For example, we almost bought olive trees, because they were on sale, we looked it up to find they do not grow well in our zone, even though the tag said it would. You can push your zone a bit warmer by having a greenhouse for plants that like warmer temps.
Know your first and last frost dates.
This date is when you can expect the first frost (in the Fall and winter) and the last frost (in the spring) of the year. Why do you need to know this? Well, frost dates help you determine when you can plant. So many days after your last frost, so many days before your first frost. You will also see "frost dates" on the back of seed packs. Frost dates are also easy to find, just go to The Old Farmers Almanac, almanac.com/gardening/frostdates, and type in your zip code! It says that my first frost can be Oct.27. The USDA hardiness zone tells me it can range from Oct. 29 - Nov.15.
Know what plants grow well in the Fall.
On remember, for your summer garden, when did you start your seeds? The spring, right? So, for the Fall garden, you will start your seeds in the summer! Now, wait before you start digging the seed trays out!
You now know your zone & your first frost date, which will help you decide on what to grow and when to start your seeds.
So, for example:
- I live in 7b. My frost date is, let's say Nov.1st.
- I look at my carrot seed pack, and it tells me they take 90days to mature. (some are shorter)
- I now count backward from Nov. 1st 90 days.
- I need to plant my carrots on Aug. 3rd.
- Now you can stretch this some. Remember, these dates aren't set in stone!
Here are some plants that do well in Fall: You will probably see similarities to spring garden choices, and that's because they like cooler weather.
- try some more winter squash
- Brussel sprouts
- some herbs will be okay
Here are some online seed companies I use:
Now the trick for me, in such a hot zone in 7b, is not letting my seedlings get too hot, so I have to make sure they are cool enough to make it to maturity and the cooler weather they love!
If you are in a cold zone, it's making sure you have enough warmth to get your plants started and enough time before the snow sets in.
Now I'm pushing getting my Brussel sprouts in before the frost, but everyone says they are more favorable if they get a little frost before harvest, so we'll see!
I started my seed trays on July 30th & 31st. I will be direct sowing several things this week in the bottom garden and the patio garden.
You see what I planted in the latest Vlog here:
Remember that nothing in the garden is guaranteed, so don't get upset if something doesn't work. Try again next year! I may need to remind myself of this in three months, lol!
Keep wandering & growing,