Crisp temperatures… they’re finally here! This North Carolina summer seemed never ending with temperatures into the mid 80’s just last week. However, between Hurricane Matthew flooding our town and late summer-type temperatures, there hasn’t been much time for gardening. We were thankful to not sustain much damage other than flooded out ductwork under the house; I hope any of you east coast readers fared well through the storm.
Between homeschooling the little gardeners, preparing for and teaching a grammar/writing class once a week, volunteering, and staying up on house work, there isn’t a whole lot of time for hands-on garden time each day. I’m all about a low-maintenance garden, and the fall is the perfect time for this. Even if you haven’t planned to have a fall garden, throwing one together in a weekend isn’t too difficult. Why is fall gardening easier?
- Less watering because the heat during the day is less intense.
- Fewer weeds and unruly grass; thank you mother nature!
- More greens and lettuces! They love the milder weather. Who says salad is a summer food?
- Easier on the gardener. No more sweating it out in the middle of the day. You can garden any time and be comfortable.
What Grows Well in the Fall?
Obviously, cooler weather tolerant vegetables and greens are a great choice for fall gardening. Collards, kale, spinach, arugula, romaine, mixed greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are popular fall favorites. If you have a square-foot or limited space garden, here’s a great visual on what works best planted together.
Our Fall Garden
Our fall garden is full of lettuces, greens, and brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, etc.). We also still have some holdovers from the summer garden like eggplant (usually until November), onions, bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers. The marigolds we planted in the spring that grew mammoth-size are also still going strong. Those two little marigold plants have taken over four squares in the raised bed, and half of the walkway. (And I’ve even cut some back.)
Here’s our bed of brussel sprouts and Chinese cabbage. (Our other marigold and eggplants are in the background along with what’s left of the onions.) Last year was the first year we’d tried brussel sprouts; they were easy to take care of and harvesting was a snap!
The red romaine has probably done the best so far, and the small greens next to it are “mystery greens.” I purchased the bag of “lettuce” seeds from our local hardware store and there wasn’t a whole lot of information on the bag, so we’re waiting to see what they yield! (It may turn out to be a treat for the chickens.)
Our complete plans are below, and since we use the square-foot method of gardening, I still have a few spots I could fill, perhaps with broccoli (though I do have a love/hate relationship with the worms I have to pick off those broccoli leaves!) or arugula. The peppery bite of arugula is one of my favorites for salads.
I’d love to know what you’re growing in your fall gardens this year! Whether you’ve got a row garden, raised bed, or container garden, fall is the perfect time to grow crisp, cool-weather crops. Have a great week and happy gardening!
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