Springtime is upon us, so it is time to start thinking about your garden. I already see an erratic array of gardeners buzzing around like June bugs on a summer night here in my native East Texas. We have a very strong and vibrant “Master Gardner” program in the area, and I noticed a marque announcing the latest garden event while I was out and about.
Yes it is time to start thinking about your garden! Your FALL garden. I know all of you avid aficionados of the agricultural arts are already done with your planning for your spring garden, but it is never too early to think about the next season, it may even be the best season for gardening.
Here in East Texas, we have a pretty long growing season, broken by a short period of time when it is almost too hot to even be outdoors. During that period of time, if, if you start now, so that you will already have a plan in place, you can begin to implement your autumn program.
Now, you will need to do something a bit different, you will have to think backwards from the way you think about garden planning in spring, substituting your average last frost dates, with average first frost dates, so that you begin planting early enough to get your crops harvested before the first killing frost. This is especially important if you plan something that requires a long growing season to reach maturity such as the 90 or so days that it takes tomatoes to mature, and especially if you want to pick them more than once
There are some advantages to fall gardening:
It is cool in the fall, well, sometimes.
Insects are less of a problem, well, sometimes.
It extends your growing season, and your production. That is a certainly true.
It’s just nice to be outdoors when the leaves are falling!
With just a little creative thinking, you can have almost any cole crop (I like kale, but you can use whatever you like, from cabbage to cole rabbi) growing late into the season, lettuce, and a wide variety of others such as pac choi, just think outside the spring gardening box.
If you don’t do it already, give it a try. You might just have a fresh garden salad from your own garden on your Christmas dinner table!