Fall Gardening 101



To me (and a lot of people, I suppose), fall is the best time of the year.  Of course, fall in Arizona doesn’t really start until late November but still, it is pretty magical.

One of the best things about fall is the gardening!  I love having a fall garden.  In this post I’m going give you some of my tips and tricks and try to make it pertinent to most climates.  Here goes!




Protection

One of your number one concerns with fall gardening is making sure you plan for how you will protect your plants during freezes.  Yes, a freeze will come (sometimes not until February if you live near me) and your plants will be in danger.  However, the first few nighttime freezes certainly don’t mean the end of planting.  Daytime temperatures are usually still pretty warm and with proper protection you can still have a lot of growing days.



  • Hoop Houses – http://amzn.to/1dHkQwq – These come in many different sizes – from something that you can stand up in to something that just covers your garden.  Here’s an example of one we make and here – http://thehomesteadinghippy.com/fall-gardening-make-a-hoop-house-to-extend-your-growing-season/ is one that my friend Heather, the Homesteading Hippy, has made. 
  • Cold Frame – http://amzn.to/15zlkTe – Similar to a mini-greenhouse, a cold frame is a box, traditionally made of glass, though you can easily get plastic ones these days, that sits over your plants and harnesses the suns energy to keep your plants warm.  These are often used to start seeds but if large enough, can definitely be used to keep established plants warm. 
  • Row Cover – http://amzn.to/17zPzHF – Usually some type of fabric, row cover can be used to keep frost from accumulating on the leaves of your plants.  
Plants

There are lots of plants that will flourish in the cooler temperatures of fall.  In Arizona, we can grow pretty much anything during the fall, as our temperatures hover around the mid to low 80’s; however, in more, shall we say, “traditional” climates, the following are some plants that will generally do well in the fall (note: depending on where you live, it *may* be too late to start from seed with some of these.  If that’s the case, buying transplants is a great option!): 
  • Lettuce – http://amzn.to/1efjqIr – Head and Leaf
  • Arugula – http://amzn.to/1efjwzF  
  • Kale – http://amzn.to/14jUWfc
  • Broccoli – http://amzn.to/15zlEBt (light frost improves the flavor) 
  • Cauliflower – http://amzn.to/14r4kbs
  • Beets – http://amzn.to/1efjKXw
  • Carrots – http://amzn.to/1efjQhN
  • Collards – http://amzn.to/1efjTdA (a light frost improves the flavor)
  • Brussels Sprouts – http://amzn.to/1efjYxI
  • Fennel – http://amzn.to/17ETUY6
  • Leek – http://amzn.to/15zm8r5
  • Peas – http://amzn.to/15DY13O (blooms are frost tender – use row cover)
  • Radish – http://amzn.to/17uJic1 (do best when the day length is short)
  • Spinach – http://amzn.to/178P6LI  
  • Chard – http://amzn.to/1efklZl  
  • Turnip – http://amzn.to/18sFB98 (said to have their best flavor in cooler weather)
Gear
There is a lot of “gear” you can get involved with when gardening if you aren’t careful.  A lot of stuff looks cool but really isn’t necessary.  Here are some of my favorite things that I can’t live without when I’m in the busy gardening season. 

Agribon – http://amzn.to/14r6Ka4 – Agribon is a material used for row cover. It is high quality and durable.  I have used the same few pieces for almost 8 seasons and it is just now getting a little tattered.  I use it both in the winter (to protect from freezes) and in the summer (to protect from the extreme sun).

Soaker Hose – http://amzn.to/178RuC6 – I have talked to you before about my love for the soaker hose.  It is a great way to effectively water your garden.



4 in Pots – http://amzn.to/18DHO0i – I’ve tried every manner of seed starting and nothing beats the 4 inch pot.  Furthermore, if taken care of, these bad boys last indefinitely.



                                                                                       

Seeds – http://amzn.to/1cGSdwj – I’m planning on writing a post soon that outlines all the best places to buy seeds; however, one of my favorites is Botanical Interest.  I can get them at my local nursery, they come in organic varieties and are non GMO.  The packages are also absolutely beautiful.



There you have it!  My top 4 most useful items for the fall garden.  What would be in your top 4?

         

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