Vegetables Galore: How to Prepare Your Garden for Fall

It may still be the dog days of summer, but depending on where in the country you live, you may already be thinking about transforming your summertime vegetable garden into a fall landscape.

Some regions across the U.S. are conducive to multiple growing seasons and crop rotations. This means that the same earth that you are currently using for summer squash, peppers and tomatoes can be transformed once the summer harvest is collected to host cool-weather veggies.

Greens, lettuce, root vegetables, broccoli, and cauliflower can all thrive well into October or November (and even longer in some areas). So there’s no reason not to keep your garden growing long after the warm summer days have passed.

Would you like to make the most out of your garden this year, and enjoy a second wave of fall or even winter crops in the months to come? Now is the time to begin your planning!

Start by considering these steps you can take in the coming weeks to ensure that the same ground that gave you a great summertime harvest will be ready for the fall growing season.

 

Check Your Soil’s Nutrient Composition After Your Summer Veggies Are Gone

Certain types of vegetables can rob soil of nutrients. This makes it hard for other vegetables to grow immediately after the original plants have died off. For example, tomatoes are an especially notorious offender when it comes to soaking up nutrients in the soil.

The good news is that you can test to see how solid your soil is with a relatively inexpensive at-home kit.

Available at most hardware stores and garden centers, an at-home test kit allows you to take a sample of soil. With this you can check to see if any nutrients are missing for the next wave of crops. Based on the results of the test, you can then try doing the following:

  • For soil that needs to be more acidic, add sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or iron sulfate.
  • For soil that needs to be more basic, use powdered limestone or lime.
  • If you don’t want to adjust your soil, choose fall veggies that grow well in your soil’s natural ph.

 

Get Turning

Those large plants that thrived in the summer months left a lot of barely-visible roots behind, which can make the soil hard and less conducive to new growth.

So get in the garden after your summer plants have died off and turn the soil to mix it up, and to spread out any remaining root systems. Best of all, any leftover vegetation that is mixed in with the soil can serve as a natural compost.

 

Pick and Prune

The summer veggies in your garden may last well into the fall, which means that you might want to mix in new crops while the current ones are still growing.

If this is the case, you’re going to want to keep your existing plants tidy and neat. This way they don’t accidentally block out any sunlight from your newly planted seeds, or take up more nutrients than they should.

Always pick veggies and fruits as soon as they are ripe. Also, trim any excess growth or dead stems and limbs to create a more clear and uncluttered space where new vegetable plants can grow.

 

Start Early

In July, August, and September, you can get ahead on your fall garden by starting seeds off in small seedling containers.

Many hardware and gardening stores offer trays and seed starting kits, which are a great first step for promoting healthy plants in the months to come.

Just be sure and put these delicate veggies in a cool, and preferably indoor location. While summer vegetables thrive on sunshine, fall veggies won’t stand up to the heat. Therefore they should stay in temperatures that are less than 80 degrees when possible.

 

Water, Water, Water

You may already water heavily in the summertime when the air is hot or dry. But if you’re aiming for a fall growing season as well, you’ll want to keep on watering in the months to come.

Newly planted seeds and seedlings need an abundance of water, as do existing plants that are currently fruiting. So keep your water applications heavy and frequent to ensure growth for summertime and fall crops.

 

To mitigate the costs of a lengthened growing season, look into alternative water sources, like a rainwater harvesting system. It will save tons of spending on monthly utility bills. But it will also provide a fresh source of water that is free from contaminants. Rainwater is ideal for both summer and fall vegetables to thrive and taste even better!

Ready to give your garden the best water available? Contact us here to begin the greatest investment for your wallet, your family, and our environment.

 

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Vegetables Galore: How to Prepare Your Garden for Fall
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Now is the time to start planning your fall garden! The following tips will help you extend your garden’s growing season for months to come.
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