Tag Archive for: fall

Fall Vegetables - Carrots and Lettuce

Starting Your Fall Seeds

The midsummer heat is here and our warm season vegetables are maturing and providing delicious edibles. The summer growing season will be winding down soon, but we can continue to enjoy delicious, fresh vegetables from our garden by planting cool season vegetable seeds now!

Plant your fall vegetable gardens in a raised bed, directly into your garden, or in containers. Some need to be planted as soon as possible, others may be planted every two or three weeks now through September.

Step 1: Select your seeds

Fall is a great time to plant kale, cabbage, collard greens, carrots, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, bok choy and turnips.

Step 2: Review the planting directions for all seed types

Read the back of each seed packet before planting to check for information on spacing, depth, and time to plant before the first frost. While overall planting methods are similar for most seeds, these particular details vary and are vital to the health and success of your vegetable garden.

Step 3: Gather your supplies

I use a shovel and hoe to plant my seeds, but you can also use a small trowel if you are planting in a small space. You will also need Leafgro or other organic material compost, fertilizer (I use Garden-tone or Plant-tone), and of course, your seed packets. I suggest using a watering wand for watering, though you can lightly water your seeds with a garden hose if you are careful.

Step 4: Prepare your soil

Before sowing your seeds, apply Leafgro or another organic compost of your choice (2”) and add an organic fertilizer such as Garden-tone or Plant-tone. Mix into the soil along the areas where you will be planting.

Step 5: Sow vegetable seeds

To sow your seeds, make a groove in the soil to the depth indicated on your seed packet. Sow seeds along the groove at the spacing indicated on your seed packets, then cover with soil. Finally, gently water the seeds using a watering wand or gentle spray of the hose.

Step 6: Mulch between rows

Mulching between the rows will reduce weeds and watering. The method which works best for me is to place several layers of newspapers between the rows of plants, spray them down with water, then mulch over the newspapers.

Step 7: Maintain garden space by watering and weeding

Keep your soil moist by watering regularly and pulling any weeds that appear. In time, your seeds will grow into delicious organic vegetables! You can extend the season through October and even into December if you use floating row covers if heavy frost threatens.


Don’t let your plants go into winter thirsty!

With the extremely dry fall we’ve had this year, we’re enjoying the rain that is coming our way this week and next. But even with the rainfall, our plants will still be dry and thirsty as we’re down roughly six inches of rain since September.

We recommend supplementing the rainfall by thoroughly soaking your plants as if we had an entire day’s worth of rain.

Don’t worry, you can’t overwater your plants during a single watering session as the excess water that is not absorbed by the plant will simply run off the soil. No plant wants to go into winter dry! If our plants go dormant for the winter while dry, it’s less likely that they’ll thrive in the spring or even survive.

With new plantings, it’s important to follow our planting and watering instructions throughout the fall season and continue to check the plants for water every three to five days, and water as needed. With established plants, check them weekly through the rest of the calendar year and thoroughly soak them when needed.  Broadleaf evergreens such as hollies, rhododendrons and laurels tend to need water the most at this time of year. This is especially true if we have less than the normal amount of rainfall, like we’re experiencing in our area right now.

Remember that it’s not too late to plant your trees and shrubs. You can continue planting throughout the rest of the year and into winter. The only time to avoid planting is when the ground is deeply frozen, which may occur in our area only for only a few weeks in January or February.

As we enter the winter months, we also recommend turning off the water to the outside of your house to prevent hose bibs and pipes from freezing. If we have a warmer day in January or February, remember to turn the water back on and thoroughly soak all of your plants in the landscape, especially new plantings and broad-leaf evergreens. A pocket hose can be a great tool for this type of watering as they roll up and store easily. When you’re done watering, turn the water to the outside of your house back off to prevent the pipes from freezing in the future.

If you have any questions about specific plants and their water requirements, please visit our Plant Clinics at any of our three stores, or call in and speak with one of our plant specialists. We will also update you on our Facebook page with our latest recommendations throughout the rest of the season.