Plant A Fall Vegetable Garden
When you think of vegetable gardens, you might think of summertime planting and warm season vegetable harvests. But did you know that there are plenty of delicious and easy to grow vegetables that grow great in the autumn season? Planting a fall vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy garden fresh produce right from your yard in the cooler seasons without having to worry about the scorching sun sapping precious nutrients away from your veggies.
If you’ve never thought about having a fall vegetable garden, now is a great time to start. Follow these easy steps to achieve a beautiful and bountiful fall vegetable garden of your dreams!
Know your first frost
When it comes to fall gardening of any kind, not just vegetable gardening, knowing when the first hard frost, or killing frost, will pop up in your area is the key to proper planning. The first killing frost in Maryland usually occurs between November 28th and December 4th.
The reason the first frost date is important is because, true to its name, the first killing frost of the year will do a number on your vegetable garden. It is good practice to plan your planting season by counting back the time it takes for your vegetables to mature from the hard frost date and planting the seeds or seedlings then. You can plant later if you purchase plants that are further along in the growing stage.
Get your soil ready for new plants
If your planting space has already been used for summer crops, it is important to clean house before you begin planting your garden once again for the fall. Take the time to pull out old plants, dig out dead bulbs, and till the soil to revitalize and refresh it a bit before your autumn planting takes place. This is a good time to introduce a good nitrogen-based fertilizer to your garden to help replenish nutrients that your summer plants may have used up, and to remove and rocks or debris that may have found its way to your garden since summer. If you don’t want to plant a garden in your backyard, don’t worry. You can use large pots to plant your veggies. If your fall garden is your first garden, keep in mind that soil is important. Try organic compost or a nitrogen-based fertilizer, and make sure that you till the soil before planting!
Choose your veggies
There are so many different varieties of vegetables that grow well in fall vegetable gardens in Maryland. When it comes to picking out which plants to host in your garden, it really boils down to your climate and personal taste. When planting vegetables, make sure that you are choosing the plants that you actually enjoy. There is no use having beautiful carrots or squash if you don’t like them!
Chances are, your garden will produce far more vegetables than you can use yourself, so prepare for late fall canning, or tell your friends and neighbors to get ready for some delicious, fresh produce from your garden!
When it comes to planting your fall vegetable garden, it is important to understand which plants are best to grow in your yard and which ones are best to start in containers. Check out the list below to see where your favorites fall.
- Brussels sprouts
- Kale (often tastes sweeter after the first frost!)
Directly in the ground:
- Mustard greens
Get your seeds started
Although you can buy vegetable plants already started for you, one of the most gratifying things about gardening is watching something grow from a tiny seed into fruition. Starting your garden from seeds allows you to have a lot more control over the plants, so they can grow to be exactly what you want them to be. Use a high-quality seed-starting mix to get your seeds off to a great start. You can also consider starting your seeds indoors in containers, or even in a greenhouse if you have one. Having a healthy start is the biggest step you can take to having a beautiful and bountiful fall garden this year.
Just because it isn’t summer anymore doesn’t mean your vegetable garden won’t get dehydrated. In the fall, it is very important that your veggies stay hydrated, so water them well throughout the growing season. Your veggies will require about an inch of water per week, and to avoid drowning your plants, it is best to water deeply and less frequently rather than more frequent, shallow waterings.
Take care of pests promptly
The same pest problems that plague spring and summer gardens cause issues with fall vegetable gardens as well. Check your plants regularly throughout the growing season for holes in the leaves, burrows in stalks, and individual insects and other pests around your garden. If you see signs of pests, it is important to take care of them quickly before they do any irreparable damage. If you don’t have pest control expertise, give the professionals a call to take care of them for you so your fall vegetable garden can be beautiful and bountiful all season long!
Enjoying fresh, delicious produce straight from your own garden isn’t just a summer luxury. With the right tools, dedication, and patience, you can enjoy all of the splendors of gardening in fall with yummy, healthy results.