Fall Gardening for Late Starters

If you don’t have your squash seeds planted or your carrots slowly blooming by now, then say goodbye to your fall garden – said no one ever.  Sure it may be a little late to start planning now, but you still have time left to get your crops planted. 

Typically, if you were to start planning your fall garden, you would begin planting the last week of July; no later than the first week of August. However, in some regions, people don’t start planting their crops until the dead heat of August or early September. Good House Keeping, confirms that “some fast-growing fall crops like lettuce and radishes can be planted into late September.” 

So if you are reading this now, take notes and then get ready, because we are going to give you everything you need to know to start your fall garden late in the summer. Just follow these steps and you’ll be making a hot vegetable soup by October.

Know What Vegetables to Grow

Since you are running a little behind the best crops to grow, just to name a few, are: broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. Leafy greens grow at a reasonable pace in the colder months than other vegetables. So when picking your seeds go for dark, leafy, rustic greens.

Start Indoors 

Consider bringing your plants indoors to start, if you’re running late. Grow your own seedlings indoors using the same methods you would use for spring. Once your seedlings are about 21 days old, set them out during a period of cloudy weather. Once your plants are out in the yard, don’t lose focus now. 

Enrich Your Soil 

Your fall garden will give you a chance to manage your soil and weed control. Enriching the soil with compost or aged manure will recharge the micronutrients and give your plants a strong start. By taking advantage of this opportunity you are actually cycling back the nutrients that your plants take up in the spring and summer, and bring them back into the soil after the residue from a harsh winter.

Don’t Let Them Get Thirsty

Once you are done planting, don’t forget to keep your soil moist.  Even going a day without water could possibly throw a nasty curveball for most fall crops. The best way to ensure little to no setbacks, especially since you’re already running behind, is to install a soaker horse or another watering device that will ensure that your crops stay moist during the fall weather. If you use a soaker hose, make sure it fully covers all the soil. And if you need to shield your plants from the late August heat, consider using a cloth anchoring it with stakes, bricks or hoops.  If you keep your crops shaded they may only require daily watering.

Defense Against Pests

It’s so annoying to find all your hard work is being chewed up by aggressive little pests. However, you can prevent this damage by covering your seedlings with row covers.  Mother Earth News, suggests, “use a summer-weight insect barrier row cover that retains little heat, or make your own by sewing or pinning two pieces of wedding net (tulle) into a long, wide shroud”. However, you choose to protect your plants from pests, make sure that it doesn’t take away from the nutrients that your fall crops need in order to grow successfully. 

Set A Reminder

Last but not least, do not make this a repeated cycle. When you know better, you do better so make sure you set a reminder on your calendar to start planning your fall garden in July so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor without all of the stress. However, if you do run late again next year you can always refer back to these tips!

Now you see just because you’re starting late doesn’t mean you still can’t have the fall garden of your dreams. Be resourceful, creative and follow these 6 steps to keep you on track. Let go of the stress and remember if you don’t get it right this time, you can always try again next fall.  Happy Planting!