Garden Lifestyle

Fall Gardening

The heat of summer has just about past and the days are getting cooler and shorter.

Here the hoop for the floating row cover has been erected and then I dug holes and placed cold weather plants for transplanting.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

The heat of summer has just about past, as has the fall equinox, and the days are getting cooler and shorter. Summer crops like tomatoes and eggplant and squash are near about finished, however we aren’t done with the garden! It is time to plant all of those cool weather crops from brassicas to lettuces and hardy greens. October is also time to plant garlic in my zone 7 garden and I’ve also put in some herbs like cilantro, chervil and parsley, which like cooler weather.

I transplanted broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, a variety of kales, arugula and lettuce during the last waning moon. And then waited for the root moon to put in the garlic and onion starts. For the bed of cool weather greens, we placed tubing which will become a covered hoop bed. Right now we haven’t placed the floating row cover because we are letting the plants soak up the sunshine and rain (if it should happen). We had a rainy spring and a fairly dry summer with some passing showers and very little rain in the fall, so we are in need of precipitation.

In fact, I’ve recently traveled north to Ohio through West Virginia and then to Washington, D.C. and am now in the Ozarks and it is dry everywhere. You can see how dry the roadsides and fields are. I’ve also noticed that trees with nuts, seed pods and fruits are heavily laden this year. The persimmon trees here in Arkansas are hanging heavy–more fruits than I have ever seen before. Do you think that when trees are stressed they produce more seed?

Anyway, back to having a fall garden–it isn’t too late in many areas to sow lettuce and salad greens. If you want brassicas, it is best to buy plants to transplant at this late in the season. The floating row cover really does extend the growing season. In years past, I have harvested greens and herbs into December–shaking off the snow before lifting the row cover. Here is a blog I posted on why you want to use floating row cover to make a grow tunnel: /item/16507/grow-tunnel-update

Usually, I plant my garlic around Halloween–get it in the ground a good 4 to 6 weeks before the earth freezes hard. I also give it a layer of wheat straw mulch. Here is a blog I posted awhile back on planting garlic: /item/122135/have-you-planted-your-garlic-yet

It is a time of slowing down now, even though we are still putting up the last of the garden bounty and cleaning up spent plants and around the yard. Enjoy the season and the opportunity to extend the growing season just a bit. You will be glad to go out and pick some cold weather crops come October and November. Happy autumn!


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