The cool weather during fall provides favorable temperatures for growing vegetables such as kale, spinach, and lettuce. With a little protection from the frost, the cool temperatures also sweeten the flavors of these vegetables. However, not all plants can withstand the cold and therefore, it is important to choose crops that are frost tolerant for the plants to thrive. Practicing proper timing will go a long way to ensure you have high yields and also guarantee that the plants have enough time to mature. Below are tips on how to effectively improve your fall vegetable garden.
Check the frost dates
Before you start preparing your garden, gather information on the frost dates for your area. Checking the frost dates ensures that you choose the most suitable crops that will germinate faster and take a short time to mature.
Prepare the seeds early
Some vegetables require planting seeds in a nursery bed before transferring them in the garden. Early preparation ensures that the seedlings are ready for planting before the first fall, for them to mature early and increase yields. If you are running late, you can plant your seeds directly in the garden but in this case, plant them few inches deeper into the soil since it is more moist and cooler.
Prepare your fall garden
It is important to test the acidic level of your garden soil before planting to ensure it is within the pH requirements of your plants. Add a layer of compost to the garden to improve soil fertility. If your garden contains crops you had planted in summer and still growing, it is not necessary to dispose of them. Pluck out the plants that may have dried up to create more growing space for the healthy crops. Also, remove weeds from the garden since they compete for moisture and nutrients with the healthy crops.
Chose the appropriate vegetables to grow
Not all vegetables are frost tolerant and can withstand the cool temperatures. Crops such as tomatoes and peppers may not be a good choice to plant in a fall garden, but lettuce and leafy crops such as kale and cabbages are best for fall. In fact, their flavors are enhanced and increased by the cool temperatures. Also, choose the right variety of the plants to increase yields.
Caring for your garden
Once you have planted your vegetables, it is important to ensure they are properly irrigated. Also, keep your crops protected from frost by using a cloche for small plants and a row cover for the larger crops. To reduce attack by pests such as army worms and grasshoppers, check your crops regularly for spots on the leaves.
The end of the hot season does not mean the end of growing vegetables in your garden. You can still have a constant supply of fresh vegetables even during the fall. Plan your fall vegetable garden before planting by checking the frost period for your area, choose crops that can withstand cool temperatures and start your seeds early enough. As the crops grow, protect them from frost and pests to enjoy long harvesting period and get high yields from your crops.