It feels weird talking about fall and winter when the forecast for next week is in the mid hundreds EVERY DAY, but it is time to start getting things ready for your fall and winter garden.
Here is the big question, did you reserve space in your summer garden for fall plants or are you waiting until your summer plants finish up and then planting your fall garden?
For me, the answer to this question is a little bit of both. I spent the past couple weekends tearing EVERYTHING out of a giant garden bed (for lack of a better term) in front of my house with plans to plant fall veggies there. The problem with this spot is it is right in the deer's morning walking path. I kid you not, every morning the deer run through our yard, stop and get a bite to eat, then prance along to the next house. I thought about putting a fence up but I didn't really want a six foot high fence directly in front of the house. So, I resolved to just plant deer resistant plants in that bed. Here's what I am putting in that spot:
Look at this beautiful blank canvas for deer-resistant fall veggies!
Now for my actual garden space, I will wait until the existing plants die or I get impatient and pull them out out for lack of production and then fill in those spaces will fall seeds. Here is what I am planning on planting there:
Lettuce (several different varieties)
Garlic (I will be doing a whole post on this next time)
Last year I grew cabbage, kale, carrots, radishes, and peas and they all did great. The only problem with these crops last year were aphids! I had very little bug issues during the summer but come winter the aphids were out in full force with no ladybugs to snack on them. I think this is because we had a pretty mild winter last year.
The most important thing when planting fall veggies is when you plant. You want to make sure your plants have a decent start before your first frost or they will not survive. The farther along they are, the better they will do once the freezing temps hit.
Now, I planted some of these seeds a few days ago before checking the forecast. It is supposed to be in the hundreds every day next week which is not good for germination, or anything really. I will keep watering them and see what happens but I may have to replant in a few weeks. Be sure to check your forecast before planting fall and winter veggies because most of them need colder temperatures to germinate and grow. You can always start fall and winter veggies indoors like you do with springs veggies if it is too hot in your area to give them a little head start.
I recommend getting your plants in the ground 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date, which is now for some people, so time to get planning!
Here are some other fall crops that are frost resistant you may want to consider planting:
Kohlrabi (on my next year's list!)
An important thing to remember when planting fall and winter crops if you have a harsh winter, they won't grow much BUT when spring hits they will TAKE OFF and you will have tons of veggies in the very early days of Spring. If you have a mild winter they will keep growing, but it will probably be at a slower pace than they would in the spring and summer.
I hope everyone considers doing a fall/winter garden this year! It is so rewarding to be able to go outside move away the snow and pull out some carrots for a nice winter stew!
Happy planting everyone!