Planting Your Fall Vegetable Garden…Get On It!

Fall Vegetable Garden - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

Planting my fall vegetable garden always sneaks up on me…and this year is no different. So in the next couple of days I’m going to try to jump out from behind the eight-ball…clear-out my very spent summer flowers & veggies…finally…and get my fall veggies in the ground. And if you’re planning to have a fall veggie garden this year, so should you!

Below you’ll find some info I’ve pulled together to help you do just that…I hope it helps!

Fall Vegetable Garden - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

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When’s the Right Time to Plant?

Living in the Atlanta area…somewhere between hardiness zones 7b & 8a, I’m smack-dab in the middle of when I should be planting most of what I want to grow this year…which is primarily green leafy veggies. Because my garden is a bit shadier than a veggie garden should be, I could have even started planting several weeks back…which is crazy to me given that we were still reaching into the 90s then. And for veggies I’m already too late. Point is…I gotta get on it!

So in a nutshell, when trying to figure out when to plant your fall veggie garden what you’re trying to do is to make sure that you get your plants in the ground so that there’s enough time for them to mature prior to the first deep frost. So you effectively need to backwards engineer from that expected frost date…all the way back through the life cycle of the plant.

If you want to figure this out for yourself, check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac to find out your area’s expected frost date.

I, on the other hand, prefer to leverage the efforts of others and simply be told when’s the best time.  Fortunately for me…and most of you, Fall Vegetable Garden - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.comyour local cooperative extension office has done just that. Check out this list on Wikipedia where you can find links to the various Cooperative Extension offices throughout the country.

If you live in Georgia…as many of you ground redeemers do, the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension office has produced a very handy Vegetable Planning Chart…that provides you the dates by plant.

Which Veggies Should You Plant?

Although spring into summer is traditionally thought of as the time to enjoy a family vegetable garden most, fall offers you a host of plants to choose from and enjoy as well. Besides these new tastes, I’m also looking forward to gardening in the fall when garden pests are less active, the temps are cooler, and the mosquitoes are less aggressive.

So what can you grow in the fall? Well, here’s a partial list of cool season vegetables to choose from:

    • Lettuces of all sortsFall Vegetable Garden - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com & Burpee.com
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Cabbage
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Arugula
    • Green onions
    • Chard
    • Kohlrabi
    • Brussels Sprouts (if you’re so inclined)
    • Mustard Greens
    • Radishes
    • Rutabaga
    • (By the way…if you’re looking for a place to buy your fall veggies, I’ve found that Burpee is great…for both seeds and plants. So check them out.  That’s also where I got the images to the right.)

So look through this list (…and remember, there’s more to choose from), look at where you are on the calendar and what you want to put on your kitchen table…and then get off to do some planting of your own.  Well…maybe not so fast…you still need to do a bit of prep work.

Prepare Your Beds

In order to optimize your chances of a grand bounty of fall veggies…and to minimize your level of frustration, there are several things you should do:

    • Do a simple soil test to make sure that the pH level is at or above 6.0. If not, you may need to add some lime.
        • If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can determine your soil’s pH level by either using a soil pH meter (like the one on this link) or by doing one of a number of old school methods (see this link on WikiHow)…although these methods are less accurate (i.e., there’s no read-out).
        • However, if you’d rather let someone else who knows what they’re doing do it for you, all you’ll need to do is send a soil sample to your local extension office.
    • Clean things up:
        • Remove all the dead or non-producing plants from your summer garden.  And this doesn’t mean all your plants…at least right now.  My peppers will continue to produce into the fall, as will my eggplants.
        • Pull any weeds that you see…otherwise they’ll continue to spread and compete for the water and nutrients that your fall veggies will need.

Fall Vegetable Garden - Redeem Your Ground | RYGblog.com

    • Improve the soil:
        • Freshen up the mulch.  Odds are you’ll be able to use what’s already there, but adding some straw or shredded leaves will go a long way in creating the perfect spot for your veggies to thrive. So, pull the old mulch to the side for now…and then after you do some of the tasks below, pull it back over while adding some more.
        • To give your veggies an added boost of the nutrients, add a couple of inches of rich compost…particularly if you’re dealing with soil that has a lot of clay in it.
        • After you’ve added the compost, work it into what’s already there with a shovel or hoe.  This will also help if your soil has gotten a bit compacted. There’s really no need to fully till your soil…just enough to allow your veggies’ roots to easily make their way through the soil, take hold and start doing the job of nourishing your plants with water and nutrients.

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Alright, I think that’ll about do it. I hope you’ve found this helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions…or have any other recommendations that you think your fellow ground redeemers might find valuable when planning for their fall vegetable garden.

Take care,
Doug initial

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4 thoughts on “Planting Your Fall Vegetable Garden…Get On It!

  1. ok, I’m ready to do this, but I have no experience with greens from seeds…is it too late to start greens in particular from seeds (kale, spinach, etc) and do I have to start them indoors? your garden (and the blog!) is beautiful!

    • Meesh: Great to hear from you! Great that you’re jumping into the vegetable gardening world. You and your family will love it. It’s not TOO late to start your garden from seeds, but you’re getting there. It depends on what you’re wanting to plant and the time it takes those plants to germinate. For spring gardens you’d need to start inside because it would be too cold outside…but for your fall garden you could start your seeds now outside…and even sow them directly into the ground. Here are a few how-to sites on germination, seedlings, and a general gardening calendar that you might find helpful: http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.cfm?number=C943, http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/germinationguide.html, http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/vegetable-seedlings.html. That said, I know that garden shops are finally getting their cool crop veggies in now, so you could skip the “from seeds” approach this go’round and then start from seeds in the spring. That’s actually what I plan to do. I hope you found this helpful my friend. Let me know if you have any other questions. Take care, D.

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