fall vegetable garden is some of the best, easiest and
healthiest gardening you can do because:
crops start out strong, growing quickly, and then slow
their growth as days become shorter and cooler,
according to the gardening experts at Bonnie Plants,
which sells vegetable transplants at garden centers
also need to work less to protect your garden from
pests, as both insects and animal populations will taper
off in fall.
is the time to start that fall vegetable garden, giving
you fresh produce from your yard to table.
planting, prep your soil. Remove any garden debris from
the past season’s garden and remove weeds before they
go to seed.
up your soil. Loosen compacted soil, fluffing it up with
a garden fork. Adding a 2-inch layer of bagged compost
slowly benefits your crops and soil; an application of a
balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10, spread according to
label directions, is valuable, too.
planting options. Large planters and raised beds
fashioned with timbers, retaining-wall stones or
cinderblocks allow you to start with quality soil —
half topsoil and half compost — and require you to
bend less to access crops.
the sun shine in. Most vegetables need full sun — at
least six hours per day. When frost threatens, cover
plants with floating row cover (paper-thin fabric that
lets air and light in), cold frame or cloches (glass
bell jars). Veggies grown in pots can be placed on
wheels that allow you to move them inside a garage or
shed on frost-threatening nights.
your plants. Transplants, or baby plants six weeks or
older, get you a quicker harvest than seed. Look for
plants in easy-use biodegradable pots that make planting
simple, prevent transplant shock and lessen use of
plastic pots. As the pot biodegrades, it also adds
nutrients to the soil.
cool crops your family likes. Some fall veggies to
consider, courtesy Bonnie Plants, include:
kale — A cold-hardy vegetable, kale leaves get sweet
tasting after frost. Health experts tout the benefits of
dividend broccoli — Many greens love fall weather, and
broccoli is no exception. Plant stalks 18 inches apart
to harvest a crop that’s healthy to eat and easy to
— Hybrid cabbage grows large, round blue-green heads
you can use in salads, stews and soups — or steam
lettuce — Space transplants 18 inches apart for
nutrition-rich lettuce you can use on salads, sandwiches
wisely. Plants need an inch of moisture weekly — from
Mother Nature or you.
more information on edible gardening, visit Bonnie
Plants at www.bonnieplants.com, North Carolina State
University at www.ces.ncsu.edu/hil/hil-8001.html and
Organic Gardening at www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/second-harvest.