How to Get the Most Out of Your Vegetable Garden
Summer might be prime season for your vegetable garden, but fall also brings rich crops. Salad crops can revive the most disorderly garden, and proper care can allow some crops to grow several weeks after the first frost. In this blog, we’ll give you tips to help extend the life of your vegetable garden long beyond the summer!
The secret to a successful fall garden is using succession planting. Simply follow these steps to decide when to plant your fall crops.
1. Figure out your area’s first frost date, which you can find here http://www.almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states/CA
2. Next, find out the number of days necessary for each vegetable to harvest. This information should be on the seed packet or you can look it up on the Better Homes and Gardens Plant Encyclopedia here http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/
3. Use the number of days it takes to harvest your crops and count back from the first frost date. Then add two weeks to that number, as many plants have have a slower growth rate in the fall. This will give you the latest date that you should plant your fall crops.
Getting the Garden Ready
A great garden starts with excellent preparation and maintenance. Start by ripping out any vegetables that are no longer in their prime, such as peas that are burnt out due to the heat of summer or tomatoes that are overcome with disease. Next, weed your garden so that weeds aren’t taking moisture and nutrients away from your new plants. Also, if your vegetable garden has soil with a lot of clay in it, add some organic matter, such as compost, to help give your plants a great start.
Great Crops for Fall
Hardy vegetables, like spinach and kale, often grow well into early winter. Also, crowded spinach gives plants plenty of room to grow and stops producing leaves when the freezing weather comes. Spinach can survive winter when it is properly protected and will produce sweet leaves first thing in the spring.
Helpful Tip: Using a cloche is a great way of protecting individual small plants from frost but for larger areas, using an old sheet, blanket, row cover, or tarp to keep your plants safe.
You can still enjoy a long harvest in the winter if you plant the right varieties of crops and give them a bit of protection. We’ve include some great articles below with suggestions on vegetables to add to your fall garden. Good luck and happy gardening!