As summer draws to a close, gardens everywhere can morph into a tapestry of delicious greens, from tender lettuce to frost-proof spinach, with a sprinkling of red mustard added for spice. In North America’s southern half, as long as seeds germinate in late July or early August, fall gardens can grow the best cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower you’ve ever tasted. In colder climates, it’s prime time to sow carrots, rutabagas, and turnips to harvest in the fall. Filling space vacated by spring crops with summer-sown vegetables will keep your garden productive well into fall, and even winter.
Planting Your Seeds
Count back 12 to 14 weeks from your average first fall frost date to plan your first task: starting seeds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale indoors, where germination conditions are better than they are in the garden. Some garden centers carry a few cabbage family seedlings for fall planting, but don’t expect a good selection. The only sure way to have vigorous young seedlings is to grow your own, using the same procedures you would use in spring. As soon as the seedlings are three weeks old, be ready to set them out during a period of cloudy weather. If you’re already running late, you can try direct-seeding fast-growing varieties of broccoli, kale or kohlrabi. Sow the seeds in shallow furrows covered with half an inch of potting soil. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate, then thin them. The important thing is to get the plants up and growing in time to catch the last waves of summer heat.
Importance of Soil
In addition to putting plenty of super-nutritious food on your table, your fall garden provides an opportunity to manage soil fertility, and even control weeds. Rustic greens including arugula, mustard, and turnips make great triple-use fall garden crops. They taste great, their broad leaves shade out weeds, and nutrients they take up in fall are cycled back into the soil as the winter-killed residue rots. If you have time, enrich the soil with compost or aged manure to replenish micronutrients and give the plants a strong start.
Protect Your Landscape with Nature’s Work
Whether you are getting rid of a patch of concrete, going to winterize your lawn, or are trying to refresh your landscaping, Nature’s Work offers comprehensive tree services for your commercial or residential property. We offer services throughout Maryland, including Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, Frederick County, Howard County, and Baltimore County. Ready to see how we can meet and exceed your landscape design expectations? Give us a call at (410) 780-3760 or visit us online today! For more useful yard tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.