The Family Home Blog

Helpful Tips for your Fall Garden

Aug 24, 2016
Diane Hoffmaster

Summer is beginning to wind down and with it go the fruits and vegetables that love loads of heat and sun. Tomatoes, hot peppers and cucumbers are always abundant in a backyard garden when the temperatures are in the 90s, but they start to taper off once the mornings begin cooling off. Just because fall is coming, your garden doesn’t have to be finished for good! There are many plants that thrive in cooler temperatures that you could consider planting this month. Here are a few tips for a fall garden if, like me, you want to keep playing in the dirt.

herb garden

Consider planting before summer crops are done producing: Depending on how much space you have, consider planting fall crops before summer is really over. The larger summer crops will provide shade that is vital to new seedlings and sprouting seeds.

Know what to plant: For fall gardens, you really need to know your local growing season and the plant's physical needs. Some plants like broccoli have a long maturation time and if you have an early snowfall, you may not harvest any before winter hits. Some plants can tolerate a light freeze but others will die off completely, so know when your first frost date is expected before planting.

Add more nutrients to your soil: Summer crops use up a lot of nutrients from the soil so make sure you add fresh compost or fertilizer before planting your fall crop.

Take into account changing sun angles: As the year progresses, the sun will change its location in the sky. Make sure you know exactly where the sunniest spots are in the garden.  With cooler temperatures and shorter days, your plants will need to be in maximum sunlight for as long as possible.

Be ready for fall freezes: If you protect your crops from a light frost in the middle of the night, your garden will last much longer since the days are still fairly warm. Stock up on light weight sheets to use as row covers or start saving plastic milk jugs. Just cut the bottom of the jug off and set it over the plant to protect it from freezing. This works great for small heads of lettuce!

Preserve your crops for winter: You won't be getting another crop of fresh backyard produce until spring so make sure you preserve the harvest. Fresh herbs will grow very well in pots on the patio all through fall, but once the first freeze hits, they are usually done. Dehydrate them and store at room temperature in reusable Ziploc® Brand Containers for use throughout the winter!  

Will you be planting a fall garden?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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