Fall Gardening Already?
In the hottest days of the summer, it is hard to believe that it is time to start planning and seeding fall gardens. Your fall garden can start being planted in August and September and be harvested through fall and into winter.
There are many popular vegetables that you are able to grow in your fall garden. This includes: kale, broccoli, collards, cabbage, turnips, and radishes. Leafy green vegetables and root vegetables favor cooler weather.
Just like your spring and summer garden, your fall garden also needs a sunny area to thrive.
After choosing a plot you will want to soil test to know what you are dealing with. Once you receive your test results, you will know what to amend your soils with, if any. You can get soil tests kits at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Caldwell County office.
When it comes to seeding your garden, you have a couple options. Since it is still hot and will remain hot for a couple more months, direct seeding could cause issues. Vegetables seeded in late summer are typically planted deeper than when seeded in spring – up to twice as deep because soils are warmer and drier. Seeds sown too close to the soil surface are prone to drying out, resulting in poor germination.
Another option is starting your seeds indoors. You need sterile media and 16-18 hours of light (natural and/or artificial). You can find a south-facing window to put your seeds in if you are going to use natural light. If using fluorescents, forty watt, 48-inch long fluorescent tubes, with a timer, placed 2 to 4 inches above the seedlings is an adequate set-up.
If this is your first time starting seeds inside, easy seeds to get started with are: broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and kale.
The last option I will discuss is purchasing starter plants from a local garden center. To know when to start sowing your seeds or planting your starter plants, refer to our Western NC Planting Calendar found online at caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu or at our extension office.
As the temperature cools, and your summer garden begins to go out of season, your fall garden will provide you with a harvest that will last into late fall and early winter. If you have questions on fall gardening or things related, contact our office at 828.757.1290.