Gardening Through Change Of Seasons


Gardening Through Change Of Seasons

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Everyone is aware of the bounties of summer crops – in fact, if you nurtured your own vegetable garden this summer you’re probably still trying to find creative new recipes to exhaust your seemingly endless supply of zucchini (try oven-baked zucchini chips, or chocolate zucchini cake!) With a little planning, the cool breezes and abundant rainfall of autumn make this transition season equally ideal for gardening. So take advantage of this additional growing season with these tips.  

Prep Your Garden Clear out any summer crops that have been exhausted, and then take the opportunity to do some general weeding for your garden: you don’t want any weeds to steal nutrients from your new seedlings. You may also want to work in some organic matter/fertilizer. Oftentimes it is easier to start your crops from seed indoors using a seed tray, especially if you live somewhere that summers are long and hot, as fall/winter crops may not sprout as well in the lingering heat. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can move them outdoors to your freshly prepared garden. If you don’t have the space or equipment indoors to do this, consider planting seeds a little deeper than you normally would to shield them from any harsh summer rays.  

Working with a Deadline The big difference between spring/summer gardening and fall gardening is the looming presence of the Mother Nature’s deadline: the first frost of the year. Many plants are susceptible to ground frost and cold temperatures and will perish overnight if temperatures take a dive, so when planning for your autumn garden it’s important to take the historical first frost date for your area into consideration. So if the first frost usually occurs around November 4th, and you’d like to harvest a crop that takes about 30 days to mature, count backwards to find the latest possible date for planting for that particular crop. Some plants can actually survive a bit of a frost, especially if you live in a warmer climate, so just be sure to do your research on the desired plants.  

What to Plant Ideally, you’ll want to plant varieties that either mature quickly, or can withstand a light frost. Speedy growers include leafy greens like spinach and arugula, and radishes. Turnips and some Asian greens also mature in about thirty days. Plants in the cabbage family, such as broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and cabbage, do take longer to harvest, but are hardier and can withstand a light frost. Interestingly, a light frost will actually make these crops sweeter. Spinach and kale are the hardiest varieties that can often survive throughout the winter. Although they won’t produce this season, autumn is also the best time to plant young fruit trees. On the non-edible side of things, fall is the perfect time to plant beautiful chrysanthemums and spring bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. So as summer fades, don’t be discouraged! Keep that green thumb going into late fall and you will be enjoying fresh, garden-grown crops throughout most of the year.

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