Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fall Gardening Prep

Believe it or not the summer is rapidly closing. No one laments that more than I do. But there is at least one bonus: it's time to plant fall crop. Tired of eating squash? Sick of throwing out diseased tomatoes? Pulled your last bean? Never got that summer garden going? Here's your chance. You don't have to wait till next Spring. Plant for Fall!

Fall is a good time for planting perennial fruit and nut trees. If you are interested now is the time to begin browsing a good quality book on what kinds of fruits and nuts fit your climate. I recommend Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening Fruits and Berries. Pick up a cheap used copy here or head to the local library. Also check out a cool company that sells trees and fruits online Oikos Trees. I haven't purchased from them but they "come recommended."

Here's how we get started narrowing down Fall veggies: First, find your nearest neighbor who has gardened in your area for years. Barring that you'll need to know some information which is readily available from your local Cooperative Extension Service. Find your CES here. Knowing the frost date will help determine what kind of season you have ahead of you and whether you have time to plant from seed or not. Second, look up harvest times for plants your interested in. Again this info is generally available from the Cooperative Extension Service in your area but here is an example of ours. You can browse the veggie list and see approximate Fall planting dates for many veggies in our area along with a second chart showing time-till-harvest.

Below is a list of some cool-weather favorites but we don't make claim to completeness so let us know what is missing: chard, kale, collards, mustard, spinach, lettuce, onions, garlic, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage. Doubtless there are others. Honestly, the only limits are climate, approximate date to maturity for given veggies, and a willingness to experiment. Put some plants in the ground and enjoy good garden food this fall. And tell us how it goes. You'll doubtless here about ours.

This week we are starting broccoli from seed. Next week we will start chard, collards, and kale. In 2-4 weeks we will start spinach and lettuce. In late September we will start onions and garlic.

You might not be able to find seeds locally. Some hardware stores will sell cool season transplants as we get closer to fall. If you want to find seeds online, here is a list of places we have ordered from.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Johnny's Selected Seeds
Cook's Garden
Seeds of Change


1 comment:

William Kruidenier said...

Your NC readers (and surrounding areas) can get great heirloom apple tree advice from Big Horse Creek Farm http://www.bighorsecreekfarm.com/ outside Lansing, NC in Ashe County. They grow and sell hundreds of heirloom apple varieties that will do will in this area.