Fall weather is on the way.
At this time of year, I usually write about how it’s too hot to imagine
cooler days in which fall crops may flourish, but this summer has been
unusually cool and fall weather seems to have a better chance to conquer the
heat this autumn than in most years. It
is time to start some seeds to grow into transplants to put out later in the
fall, and it's a great rainy-day activity if it's pouring rain at your house the way it is at mine.
|Site of fall garden|
I won’t try to set out any plants soon, but I plan to sow some seeds in the garden within the next couple of weeks. I will start the seeds while it’s still hot
instead of waiting for cooler temperatures because the plants need to establish
themselves before cold weather comes. If
I wait until late September when the weather cools, which I have done, frost
will damage the baby plants and they won’t grow well during cold weather. Older plants enjoy the cold weather, and I am
able to harvest from them throughout most of the winter. In the spring, they will resume growing ahead
of new plants.
If the soil is dry, before I plant seeds, I soak the
soil. After I plant the seeds, I water
them very gently, and continue to water them gently once or twice a day,
depending on rainfall. Mature plants,
with deep roots, need infrequent, long soakings. Seeds, which inhabit the top layer of soil, need
only enough water to keep the top inch or so of soil moist. They need gentle mists of water, because
vigorous water applications will wash the seeds away. Make sure you tell the afternoon thunderstorms
to treat them gently, or you might have to plant the seeds again.
After I sow the seeds, I put metal hoops across a garden row
and I lay shade cloth across them, pinning it down with clothespins. Shade cloth is available at garden centers or
. Old sheets will work also; use something that
blocks the hottest rays of the sun while allowing some light. Provided strong storms don’t make these
coverings collapse, they will protect the seedlings from battering rain.
When they seeds sprout, I continue to keep the soil moist,
but I gradually wean them off such frequent watering so they will develop deep
roots. I leave the shade cloth up until the weather
becomes cooler, and I gradually expose the seedlings to brighter sunlight. If the seedlings look too tall and spindly, they
are not getting enough sunlight.
Indoors, I sow seeds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,
cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, and spinach. Keep the baby seedlings inside and away from
scorching temperatures until the weather cools.
Outdoors, sow seeds of carrots, beets, chard, Chinese
cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsnips, radishes,
spinach, and turnips. Keep the soil
moist by frequently misting the soil with water, provide shade as needed, and
you should have a garden ready for harvest throughout the fall and winter.
Google “what to plant now,” to find a yearly planting list
am well organized in the garden, I can harvest something from the garden every
day of the year. This year, thanks to
the excessive rain and my activities, I’ll have to battle the weeds for a spot
in the garden before I can begin work.