By Jannie Vaught
I seem to have a fascination with all things Fall and it is August, the heat is on and harvesting is a daily event. As the season progresses, I see the fading of this spectacular garden. Yes, I always have a wistful sadness when the tomatoes begin to finish and the planning for fall begins.
So here we go.
Plan 2 seasons ahead.
Out comes the garden journal and the seed selection begins. The seedling trays need cleaning, table and grow lights come out and check on Seed Starting Soil. 10 Best Crops for a summer re-fresh garden (To plant in July) . Succession garden. Keep in mind your local climate, we are in grow zone 8a.To find your zone go to Old Farmer’s Almanac or any garden site. It describes the Planting Zones or Grow Zones.
What do you like to eat and grow?
Gather your seeds and replenish if needed. Pull out the old and spent plants, chop them or as I do let the chicken have them for a week or so. Then add them to your New compost pile as you will be using the older compost for a re-fresh on the garden. I use a Broad fork and a shovel and do some digging and straightening of the in-ground beds and raised beds. I repair any soaker tape and in general so a cleanup. I add 2 inches of that Old compost you have been turning and possible a light sprinkle of minerals or even garden sulfur and lime. Now I get my seeds out and read the packages for Dates for Maturity. That is when the seedlings are up and growing with leaves, or in-ground and up with leaves. This is a vague dating due to the many factors of the seed quality, soil condition and sunlight temperatures and rainfall. But it is a basic guideline. Always give yourself a Cushion of 1 to 2 weeks for harvest as you approach the first frost date.
The fall garden for this gardener is Roots and Shoots. That means greens, roots like beets carrots and rutabaga and even some Sweet corn which has a shorter growing requirement and Winter squash and even some Basil as the summer heat it has gone to seed. Even some Baby watermelon. Here’s my list. Inside I start Purple or Opel basil, Southern Collards, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage. Outside I plant Dragon Tonge bush beans, Red Kuri winter squash or Acorn Squash. Or small baby pumpkins. Spinach, Mustard. My second planting of Okra is already in and under hoops and netting for grasshopper protection until it gets some size.
Your cucumbers are probably done by now but you can do a replant for a fall crop. Another super grower for our area is the Noodle Bean. or Foot long bean it needs a trellis and grows fast once it is going up the trellis and blooming. Mark that First Frost date and Keep it in front of you. There are many more plants to consider, and it depends on your garden and what you like to grow.
Time to get the Garden Journals out and start planning for the Fall.
Growing Green With Jannie