Fall Garden Tips

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successful fall garden tips

 

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Fall is my favorite season.  It’s no longer blazing hot and the leaves turn into their magical colors.  Have you ever considered growing a fall garden?  The temperatures are more moderate, most of the problematic bugs have gone and a lot of greens thrive in the cooler temperatures.  What’s not to love about that?

Starting your cool weather crops in the summer, whether transplanting seedlings started indoors or direct sowing, can be a challenge.  Some crops need to be started when the sun is still hot.  Those tender seedlings can wither in a hurry if not cared for and protected.

The effort of protecting your seedlings is well worth it!  A lot of cool weather crops taste so much better with the cool temperatures.  Plus going out and picking your own salad in October or November never gets old.  You don’t need a greenhouse to keep your garden going well into late fall. 

What can you do to protect your fall garden?

Tips for a Successful Fall Garden

Prepare soil

Just like in the spring, you need to prepare the soil before planting in the fall.   I top dress my garden beds with composted goat manure from our goat barn or rabbit poo before planting any time of the year.  The better the soil, the better the crop!

Water

Water is always important, but it is even more so for fall crops.  The soil dries out quickly this time of year, which simply will not do for direct sowing seeds for slower to germinate veggies, such as carrots or parsnips. Soil needs to be kept moist around 7-10 days. Once the seedlings emerge, they will still require moist soil, the seedlings will dry out as quickly as the soil this time of year. The best way to keep moisture in the soil is with mulch.

Mulch

Mulch, mulch and more mulch!  Mulch is a must in the garden any time of the year.  Besides weed control, a thick layer of mulch  will keep the soil warm and will protect plants from light frosts in the fall.  Think of it as a nice layer of insulation.  I have used straw and wood chips as mulch and have had great results with both.  As long as the bare earth is covered, preferably with something that will break down and give you more organic matter and soil, you are set!

Tips for a successful fall garden

If you want to keep your garden going during hard frosts, you need to go one step further.

Row Cover

Row cover is the best way to extend the season and to protect your crops without purchasing a greenhouse.  It is also called garden fabric, or floating row covers.  You’re basically making a mini greenhouse right over a garden bed in your garden.  Row cover will make your fall gardening a smashing success! 

Here’s what row covers will do for you:

  • Protect your seedlings from the hot summer sun by filtering the sunlight.
  • Protect plants from frosts
  • A barrier for insect pest control

Agribon is the brand of row cover that I use.  It’s a non-woven fabric that is ultra light weight and will protect plants from frost.  You get varying degrees of protection with Agribon as it comes in different grades that still allowing light, water and air to pass through. This cans be used to extend your growing season spring and fall.   I use AG30, which is a medium weight row cover and will protect plants down to 26F.  Add in a thick mulch layer and you can move that number down a few more degrees! Agribon comes in a large roll, you cut it to the length you need to cover any size garden bed that you wish.   AG30 row cover was a game changer for me and my success in extending the season.

 

Covered garden bed in a fall garden

 
How To Use Row Cover

How you use the row cover is up to you.  You can lay the cover down over top of your garden bed or you can make a mini hoop house right over your garden bed.  I prefer to make a mini hoop house. This way I can plant, water and mulch my fall garden and then cover it up right away for protection.  PVC pipes can be used or you can buy a pipe bender to use metal pipes.

I have been able harvest spinach and lettuce well into December here in southern Missouri.  Kale has grown all winter! This fall I plan to try root crops under the row cover.  I have successfully started carrots and beets in February under row cover but haven’t tried root crops in the fall.  Keep in mind that the cooler temperatures and shorter days will slow down the growth, but you’ll still get a harvest!

 

successful fall garden tips

 

I’ve teamed up with some amazing homestead bloggers who offer their tips for a successful fall garden.  There is a lot of great advice here!

The Farmer’s Lamp – 7 Tips For Preparing the Fall Garden

Our Good Life – Bouquets From My Cutting Garden 2018

Midlife Blogger – D is for Discouraging

Clarissa R. West – Backyard Garden Basics For Homemakers with FREE Printable

Spring Lake Homestead – A Fall Garden with the Kids

Oak Hill Homestead – When to Plant a Fall Garden

The Inquisitive Farmwife – Gardening Woes, but it’s NOT to late!

Souly Rested – What every gardener needs to know about egg shells and a FREE downloadable book–Composting: The Low-Down an a Few Things You Should Know

Faithful Homestead – Fall Gardening in a Drought

 

Happy gardening!

16 responses to “Fall Garden Tips

  1. Pingback: D is for Discouraging ~ Mid-Life Blogger

  2. Great tips! I always forget about the fact that mulch also acts as an insulator. I think I’ll be trying out row covers this year. I’ve meant to in the past, but it’s never worked out. I’m hoping to have a successful fall garden! Speaking of which, I’d better get out there and do some watering!

  3. This is definitely a drought here! There are some great tips!

  4. I’ve never been successful at fall gardening, but you’ve given me a plan and some hope. Thanks!

  5. I’d never heard of row cover before. I am going to share this thought with my husband, who is my partner in gardening.

  6. Never had good luck with fall gardening but these good tips may help that! Going to try some things! Hope my luck will be better!

  7. Pingback: A Fall Garden with the Kids - Spring Lake Homestead

  8. I love that image of all of the winter squash! I’ll have to try a fall garden next year. Trying to add goats this fall, and I have an infant, so that’s all I can handle, lol.

  9. I need to be better about row covering!!!!

  10. thank you for telling us about the row covers. I’ll remember this when we once again live in a place we can put in a garden. Awesome giveaway – thank for hosting!

  11. Clarissa R. West

    Awesome tips, I’ll be referring to them since this will be our first time planting a fall garden!

  12. I love using season extension. It never stops amazing me just how much you can still grow and harvest by using them even though the season is winding down and winter is on the way. Great tip for using organic mulch to insulate and feed the soil!

  13. Fall is my absolute favorite time to garden on my homestead! Here in Central Florida, we have a much better harvest in the fall and it lasts almost into February! I don’t use a row cover at all unless it frosts, but usually, that isn’t a problem. Great post! I’ll be sharing this one!

  14. Pingback: What every gardener needs to know about egg shells » SoulyRested

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