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Gardening Now that it’s Fall?

September 5, 2011

Grow beans throughout the season and into the fall

The kids are gearing up for school and there is a hint of cool air in the evening…. Does that mean the gardening season is over?  Well have no fear, there is still plenty of time to get your hands dirty and watch nature grow!

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I am trying my hand at succession planting to extend the garden season.  Roughly mid-August, I pulled all my squash and zucchini plants out (after an invasion of squash bugs) and planted new beet, bean, lettuce, radish and snap pea seeds in their place. Radishes and beans will grow fast and the others are cool-season veggies.

There is a long list of cool-season veggies – something for everyone, even the picky eaters!  The cool season is that time of year when nighttime temps stay between 25o to 60o F.  And typically in this area – that is less than 60 days.  I’ve never tried growing cool season vegetables.  I am not sure what will survive and flourish before the frost, but I will keep you posted! Want the finer details?  There is a great page in “The Backyard Homestead” edited by Carleen Madigan that maps out planting dates in relation to frost.

Other options as the cool air rolls in

  • Check out row covers to protect your plants.  The thicker the better to protect against frost.
  • Reuse your milk jugs by making hot caps!  Cut the bottom from a 1-gallon container and set it over the plant. Leave off the cap for ventilation.
  • Build a cold frame for the ultimate device to extend your season!  Be green and look around for left over materials to build it.  Bricks? Broken concrete? What about that old window you haven’t thrown out yet?

One of my books mentions growing veggies over the winter.  I haven’t tried this just yet so can’t provide insight but according to “Newspaper Pennies Cardboard & Eggs for a Growing a Better Garden” by Roger Yepsen, there is a list of vegetables that survive through the frosts of fall.  These include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, Asian greens and some lettuces.  To help them out, scatter the beds with a mulch of loose straw.  Personally, I will be testing out my attempts to grow garlic over the winter.  I can plant it in the fall about the time of the first frost for a summer harvest.

Organic Green Tip:  Ready to close down the garden?  Grow a cover crop (also called green manure) that will improve your soil. Sow the cover crop seeds anytime now – the whole garden or empty patches one at a time.  Try crimson clover, hairy vetch, oats, ryegrass, or kale.  Different crops will add different nutrients to the soil.  Next spring, mow it all down and mulch it into the soil.  I’ve used hairy vetch and winter rye.  The hairy vetch adds nitrogen to the soil while winter rye improves the soil structure.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Centrifugal Pump permalink
    September 6, 2011 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement…I love gardening but I haven’t really ventured into growing veggies over the winter.Guess,we’ll both be on the road for that quest.

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