It’s Time to Prepare for Your Fall Garden
by Paul “Dr. Q” Noe
Staff Horticulturist/Certified Horticulture Advisor, Star Nursery
Now is the time to start thinking about renewing your vegetable gardens for the fall season. The summer crops have just about finished by now and
over the course of their season, they have used up much of the nutrients and fluffiness of your garden soil. When the last of these crops have been harvested, you need to start rejuvenating the soil for a fresh planting of cool season items.
Adding a two to three inch layer of good organic mulch or compost, and mixing it into the top six inches of your garden soil, is a good way to break up any compaction that may have occurred over the summer season. It also aerates and gets more organic matter into the soil. While you are mixing it in, you can also add some more starter fertilizer to replenish the nutrients that have been used up by the previous crops. Be sure to level the garden soil and give it a couple of good, deep soakings to leach out any salts that may have accumulated over the summer months. This will also insure that the soil gets evenly moistened throughout the entire bed.
Now is also the time you can start planting vegetable seeds in starter trays so they will be ready to put in the garden as soon as the temperatures begin to cool down. Although there is still a small window for some of the warmer season crops like tomatoes, now is the time to plant longer lasting cool
season crops. These varieties are generally heat sensitive and prefer the cooler days of fall, winter, and early spring to produce their best. Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, collards, mustard, spinach, and turnips can all be started with the cooling weather. Also, continue planting crops like lettuce and radishes that you can grow and harvest here all year long. Don’t forget about carrots, onions, and peas that are great for the cooler weather.
Use a good layer of organic mulch or compost on top of the soil to conserve moisture, discourage weeds and insulate the surface roots. After your plants are established, use the right fertilizers for what you are trying to grow. Leafy crops need lots of nitrogen; root and fruit crops like carrots and peas need less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium to produce best.
Regular fertilizing, along with good, rich soil, is the key to good fruit and vegetable production, and now is the time to start working that soil to get it ready for fall gardening.
By the way, did you know that fall is also the best time of the year to plant fruit trees in our area? It’s true! Planting deciduous fruit trees like peaches,
plums, apples, apricots, pears, pomegranates, and nut trees, is best done right after the hot summer months. This gives them the longest possible time to establish a bigger root system before the stressing heat of next summer comes around. They will have the fall, winter, and spring to produce more roots to help get them through their most stressful time of the year. This is true for deciduous shade trees as well. So, if you are looking to put in some fruit or shade trees, fall is the best time to plant.
For more information: Star Nursery (702) 771-7827 | www.starnursery.com | firstname.lastname@example.org