Living in a condo doesn’t give me much opportunities for gardening (some but it’s very limited). Someday I might have a nice garden but until then, I thought I’d pass on these tips, courtesy of my friends at Gravitate.
For those of us with a penchant for green thumbs, one can begin to feel stifled as the leaves begin to change and the days grow shorter. Many people think it’s time to hang up the garden apron and call it a year, once fall starts to take hold. However, even though the prime time for gardening is certainly throughout the spring and summer, there are plenty of things that can be grown in the fall that will help garnish your fall season with plenty of healthy and delicious goodies that will last you into winter. Here are some ideas you can use to fill up your gardens and get you your gardening fix…
One prime vegetable to plant in fall is radishes. While radishes can be grown in the spring, it is actually advisable not to plant them in the summer, and to instead wait until the temperature drops in the fall. This is because radishes are a cool-season vegetable, and don’t do as well with the extreme heat of the summer. Despite this, make sure that your radishes get as much sunlight as they can. Radishes can grow into maturity incredibly quick, and only need to be planted about a month (4-6 weeks) before the first fall frost.
While planting peas in the spring is less risky, there are actually benefits to planting in the fall, instead. Most species of peas will have a much sweeter flavor if they reach maturity in the cooler months of fall, rather than the hot months of summer. Because of this, planting in late summer can be an ideal strategy, as many peas need at least 10 weeks to reach maturity. Although there is certainly a risk of an early frost destroying your crops, the difference in taste definitely makes it worth the risk.
Although pumpkins need to be planted in late summer, they are a soulful tribute to the fall that must be included in any fall garden. Not only do they provide an essential part of the fall aesthetic, and provide a continuing family tradition for carving jack-o-lanterns, but they also make a terrific addition to many soups and salads, and are incredibly nutrition. It’s important to remember that pumpkins need a good deal of space in order to grow, efficiently. Make sure to give each pumpkin plant a full five feet of space.
Spinach is a plant that grows quickly in high temperatures. However, this is problematic for those of us who want to eat it. Not only will spinach cease to create the leaves that we enjoy so much once it reaches full maturity (called “bolting”), but the flavor will often be lacking. For this reason, it is quite popular to wait until fall to plant spinach, as the cooler temperatures will keep the plants producing a steady amount of nutritionally packed leaves. Spinach needs to be planted roughly 6-8 weeks before the first frost, so plan accordingly.
Cauliflower needs cool temperatures that don’t get above 70 degrees. So, as you can imagine, it doesn’t tend to do well in the summer months. Aside from early spring, this makes the fall one of the best times to put this delicious white vegetable in your own garden. There is a very specific window, however, of when to plant cauliflower, as you must wait until the temperature drops below 70-75 degrees, but also must give the crop about 6-8 weeks to reach maturity before the first frost.
Broccoli is another crop that is healthiest at lower temperatures, and tends to do poorly in the heat of the summer. Because of this, broccoli is extremely popular to plant in the fall. Much of the flavor of broccoli gets muted when it reaches maturity at higher temperatures, and some of the nutritional value can be lost. Indeed, broccoli is so temperature dependent that it is often better to harvest in the morning when the soil is coolest, as that will also have an effect on the taste. Broccoli needs at least 12 weeks to reach maturity before the first frost.
To learn more about how to prepare your garden for the fall season, check out this useful article about how to transition your garden from summer to fall!