Second Go Around for Gardens


Country MoonHopefully, by the time that midsummer is smoldering, your garden is on its way to a good start. Although everything is up and growing, don't tuck those extra seeds that you always seem to end up with away just yet. Just as some farmers double-crop soybeans, some vegetables lend themselves well for a fall garden which means that fall can provide double bounties with some crops.

Actually, fall planting can be easier and more enjoyable than spring for gardening. Autumn usually brings less watering because of cooler temperatures, fewer insects and diseases and more pleasant working conditions. The soil is already warmer than in May which means that seeds will germinate much faster.

Timing is the biggest issue for fall planting. Be sure and check the frost dates for your area and the maturity dates for the seeds that you want to double-crop. The Old Farmer's Almanac will list first frost dates and is a good guideline to go by. Many garden seeds have maturity dates under ninety days and, if planting in mid-July or early August, there is plenty of time for the veggies to mature.

Even if the maturity dates are edging near the first frost date, you can protect your plants by covering them. I know, no one likes to mess with covering plants or bringing them in at night, but this is no different in fall than when you do it in early spring. Here in Michigan that is pretty much the norm.

Some plants grow as well or better in fall as they do in spring and some are even frost-tolerant. Spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli and kale are prime examples. Swiss chard requires only 25 days until it is edible. Kale is a winter staple. Fall-planted spinach actually does better than that planted in spring. It matures in cooler weather and will winter over if mulched. It is extra early and crisp in spring.

Summer squash and zucchini mature in 45 to 50 days. Last year, friends and family knew that whenever they saw me, I would be bearing a zucchini and I don't blame them for running the other way. After all, a person can only eat so many zucchini in so many ways during one season. So, this year I have a couple summer plants and am putting a couple more out for fall. By then, they will taste good again.

7/23/2018 9:37:35 AM

Lois, great post about fall gardening. Since my Spring garden didn't happen for many reasons, you have inspired me to think about maybe a fall garden. I've never really tried fall gardening but maybe it's time to try it. ***** Have a great day in the Fall garden. ***** Nebraska Dave

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