Planting The Fall Garden

Fall Vegetables

Fall Vegetables

 

By

Jannie Vaught

 

 

Just so you know the first estimated frost date for our county is Nov. 13. Last frost date is March 18. This is an estimate since our weather seems to be changing daily.

 

For Thanksgiving spinach try this:

Spinach has a 6 week duration from seed to plate. Mid August would be a good first plant time, then you can plant the second crop the on first of October. And if you have cold frames you can keep it going thru the late fall into winter. Also Kale and Collards are excellent to plant this way. I have been cleaning out the summer garden and am preparing for the fall planting.

 

Here are a few simple ways to improve the soil in your garden:
Check the ph. you can send it into the state or get a soil test kit. Easy way to see if your soil is clay or sand put a cup of soil in a jar fill with water, shake it then let it set. It will separate into layers, under composed organic matter floats at the top, bottom will separate into sand at the bottom, silt in the middle then clay above that. You want more sand and silt than clay. You can always add sand.
Carrots and beets love a sandy soil also potatoes.

Peanuts will like some room to branch out.
Fall is the time of year to prepare the soil as the microbes are active in warmer weather. I take time to evaluate the plants and production from summer. I had some blossom end rot on tomatoes at the end of their production, needed some more calcium. Put this on the need list. Potatoes didn’t go very deep and were small, need more tillage and sand in this spot. So after I have evaluated my season I plan on what I need to add. First it is tending the compost pile. All dry material now goes thru the chipper. Manure is turned and ready to apply and my lime and rock dust is at hand. I start by making my own Potting mix. You can’t make soil, soil is dirt. We amend the soil with additives to improve what we have. Most potting soil in bags, have no soil in it so read the label.

 

Here is a good blend cheap and easy to make:

2. 5 gallon buckets of sphagnum peat moss

1. 5 gallon bucket rotted manure with compost

Coffee can full of vermiculite or perlite for lightness

1 1/2 cup garden lime this is for calcium and will help the blossom end rot on the tomatoes.

Dolomite or Epson salt 1 handful

 

Stir this all up in the wheel barrow, shovel a good 4-5 inches on top of the garden and turn in. As we are still hot here in the first days of August, I tend the soil then plant mid month. That gives me time to go thru my seeds, Make sure they will germinate and write out my garden plan. To check germination place seed in a damp paper towel and place in moderate sunshine. They will start to sprout in a few days. If they are not active get fresh seed.

 

This is a good time of year to evaluate any pesky bug problems you had or still have, find out how to keep them in check. Keep your current plants on a feeding schedule and water early morning or late evening. They will wilt down in the heat but will revive in the morning. Keep the soil covered with some compost or material from the chipper to keep evaporation low. The heat and added wind really strips the moisture right out.

 

Doing some planning and a little work will bring a successful fall garden and maybe spinach for Thanksgiving!

 

Standing out in the garden.

Growing with green Jannie