What’s the first step in planting a fall garden? First of all, what is a fall garden? In my opinion, it is the most bountiful and satisfactory garden of the whole year. The reason being, you’re starting in the warm weather when it’s pleasant out, rather than the early spring, when it’s cold, wet, and damp. If you’re adding to your garden and building boxes, warm weather is the time to do it. Because of your success with SFG, you might want to add a few boxes for next year, so why not plan and build them now or something over the next 3-4 weeks?
What To Plant for Fall Crops?
It’s the exactly same thing you plant for a spring crop, but it’s going to start in warm weather, grow through the decreasing temperatures and end up in the cool weather, culminating in the first frost of fall. How do you find that date? Call your county agricultural agent and he will tell you the average date for your neighborhood and area. Then you go to the ALL NEW SFG book and look way in the back. There are two charts: one shows the crops for fall, and the other shows you when to plant both seeds and transplants. Remember, you’re going to be planting the cool weather crops.
- The cabbage family
- Root crops
- Leaf crops
This chart will tell you whether you should start seeds yourself in your own nursery, because the commercial nurseries do not usually have transplants for a fall crop. All of the other vegetables I’ve mentioned can be started right in the garden by seed.
The fall is a pleasant season and is a favorite of many people. It’s kind of fun to go through the fall with a weedless SFG, just continuing to harvest your summer crop, along with growing a new crop for the fall. In most parts of the country, you can grow a new crop of cool-weather vegetables right up to Thanksgiving. With some protection, you can keep going right up to Christmas and New Years. I’m going to guide you every week on what to do depending on where you live in the country and you’ll see how easy and pleasant it’s going to be.
Why Bother Doing This?
First of all, if you plant a spring crop and then a summer crop, adding a fall crop will add 1/3 to your total harvest, meaning 1/3 less dollars spent on groceries. How’s that for a good reason?
Do you have room for more garden boxes? If you’ve been successful before, you know just how easy it is to put in a few more boxes and may even come up with some unique locations. I want to encourage you to keep looking close to the house…especially the back door. It might also be time and a challenge to think about the front yard. If you already had a front yard garden, it’s possible you could have won our front yard contest this summer.
Another great idea is to get the family involved in a fall crop. Let the kids have their own 3’x3′ and teach them how to build, fill, add a grid, and plant their SFG. Let them pick what they want to plant out of all of the cool-weather crops and tell them how and why they are different from the warm weather crops. That will add to the family fun and can be done at your household with children, at your parent’s house with grandchildren, or at a community garden you might belong to.
Next week we’ll talk more about when and what to plant, so get busy with plans and ideas for your fall Square Foot Garden!