Fall Garden Tasks to Start Now
We all are still breaking our backs with the summer gardening chores and certainly don’t need any additions. But do gardeners ever get a break? We don’t think so. If you haven’t started thinking about it already, we want to get your attention to the fall garden prep. Yes, it is already time and just the right time to start prepping so you don’t miss out. A lot of newbies might think it is still midsummer, so why are we already thinking of fall garden? But know this, fall garden preps don’t happen overnight and certainly your gorgeous winter veggies don’t grow overnight. They need love, planning and care, which start way earlier than the fall season comes! Am I right, master gardeners?
It’s hot, you are tired and don’t need any new projects to start but trust us, you will want to start tackling a few fall preps now so you don’t regret it later.
- Planning the plant list: Always a good idea to make a list of vegetables you want to start in your fall garden. This gives you an idea on when to start planting them depending on your season and dates. There are such beautiful veggies like Arugula, Spinach, Collards, Broccoli, Kale, Beets, Brussels sprouts that love the cooler temps. If you want a good fall harvest for your dinner table then you need to start planting some of these greens soon. A few of them might be sensitive to the first frost so you will need to schedule your harvest before that. For example Broccoli doesn't like frost but you can cover them to save them from a sudden early cold blast but most of the greens enjoy the cooler weather, so you are good. Each plant and their growth and harvest times vary so check the seeds packets for info on that along with your zone to figure out the right time. ALL OF THIS PLANNING is the reason why it needs to start now!
- Figure out your planting strategy: So now once you decide what you want to grow in your fall garden, you need to decide how you are starting your plants. Whether you are starting seeds indoors, directly out in the garden or doing direct transplants. If its a mix of all, then you need to tackle the indoor seeds first. Then come the direct sowing and lastly the purchased transplants. For indoor seeds and direct sowing in the garden, you will need to keep an eye on during the germination process and let them get the right temps, well watered to have an ideal environment to enhance the germination process. If you are doubtful about growing from seeds, it is always fine to just get transplants and try a couple of seeds till you are more confident. Another tip to remember if you are unsure about seeds is to find out which seeds are hard and take longer to germinate. Like parsley, it takes a really long time to germinate.
- When to plant: Once you decide what and how, the next step is when. Of course the first first date determines that but also one more factor that one needs to keep in mind is the sunlight that the plants get. With fall approaching, the daylight hours start reducing which tends to lessen the daylight for the plants and that stunts the growth of the plants. This inturn leads to the plants not getting mature before the first frost which is important as not all the plants tend to handle frost well. Once mature they can go past the frost date with care so you can enjoy your late harvest as well. To figure these things out, you need to plan according to the frost date as well as checking the reducing daylight hours. Basic rule would be to help the plants get at least 10 hours of daylight. Count backwards from the frost date and calculate when the daylight hours start going down and check out how long does it take the seeds to germinate and grow, that will give you your planting window.
- Quantity: Very important factor before you order your seeds and plants. Know your lay of the land and map out where what goes and order accordingly. This way nothing goes wasted or you don’t miss out.
- Place the order: Once you know what and how much to order, start checking your favorite places to order because believe it or not, seeds sell out like hot cakes once the growing season starts hitting and you will lose out on good quality seeds and might have to switch your garden plans. Early bird and all!
Once you have all of this figured out, get into action! Trust me, most of us get late in starting at the right time just because we did not plan it at the right time and hit that play button. Hoping these tips will help you and get that plan into action.