How to prepare your garden for planting fall vegetables.

Fall is here, well almost…well, well, technically, fall officially begins on September 22nd. So, the cool breath of autumn is at hand! Walking around the gardens this morning was lovely with low humidity and cool temperatures, indicating the seasonal changes are quickly approaching. It’s a great time to start fall cleaning and preparing for your vegetable gardens. sSeptember is the month of the swing gardener, or as I call it, “the month of preparation.” Most of us (myself included) consider fall the best season to plant cool-season vegetables, trees, and shrubs.

If replacing a spring or summer vegetable garden, mulch the soil by incorporating organic matter, such as compost and humus, to refresh the planting area with nitrogen. Turn organic matter into the soil before planting to provide the initial supply of nutrients. If you create a new lawn, add additional fertilizer, such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10, and apply a 4-inch layer of organic matter before planting.

Let’s start using the following steps:
Garden cleaning The best way to prevent insects and diseases from affecting your vegetable garden is through cleaning. Remove diseased foliage and spent plants now. This is especially true for crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon and squash. Pests and diseases enjoy overwintering on these vegetables when they are left in the garden to decompose. It is never a good idea to compost these plants. Instead, burn them to mitigate the risk of pathogens entering next year’s garden.
Soil improvement Fall is a good time to add nutrients that improve garden soil. Once you have removed diseased and dying plants, add a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure, covering the surface of the soil. Using a garden hoe, turn the amendments into the top several inches of soil, then rake to remove clumps. If the area is already mulched, simply spread the soil amendments over the mulch, turning the amendments and mulch one at a time.
The following vegetables and herbs grow well in our area and can be planted or transplanted directly into the garden this month: arugula, basil, string beans, beets, broccoli (transplant), Brussels sprouts (transplant), cabbage (transplant), carrots, cauliflower (transplant), garlic Chives, collard greens, cucumber, daikon, dandelion, English peas, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mint, mustard, onion, pak choi, parsley, rosemary, summer squash, Swiss chard, spinach, tatsoi, radish. , tarragon (Mexican) and turnip greens. Purchasing grown plants from local garden centers or feed stores will get a garden off to a quick start, but seeds provide a wider range of options and are more economical and cost-effective.

When planting seeds, soak the furrows well with water before planting to increase seed germination, then cover the furrows slightly. Never allow the furrow to dry out completely – water it daily until germination occurs. Harden off the transplants by slowly exposing them to full sun for a few hours each day until the plants can control the intensity of full sun, which usually takes several days. Planting Calendar makes seasonal planting easier and provides a detailed view of planting schedules.
The best practice for gardeners is to keep a garden plan (I use a leather-bound notebook to draw and label rows of beds) to document types and varieties of vegetables, plant locations and dates planted, and dates fertilized and harvested. I also place notes next to each vegetable grown describing its characteristics such as performance, heat, pest tolerance, harvest yield, disease tolerance, and more. The garden layout also facilitates crop rotation management.
We’ve waited a long time, fellow gardeners, so let’s get out there and grow a greener, more sustainable world for ourselves, one plant at a time! Thank you for all the kind comments and please keep sending me your questions:

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