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Fruits of Fall

As your summer garden plants begin to stop producing, it’s time to start seeds for your fall garden.

With the Labor Day holiday upon us, summer comes to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to close the garden gate and sock away your spade and gloves until next year. 

Your garden has been a labor of love since early spring. You’ve weeded and watered, and in turn the garden has provided you fresh, organic fruits and veggies all summer long. 

Why not continue utilizing the space and enjoying nature’s bounty by starting a fall garden? Squash, garlic, carrots, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and romanesco and other veggies all thrive in cooler weather, even into winter. Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, our climate is just perfect for a fall garden, if you do it right.

As your summer garden plants begin to stop producing, it’s time to start seeds for your fall garden. You should start germinating your seeds about 12 to 14 weeks before the first frost, but if time is short, you can direct-sow your seeds in shallow furrows, covering them with about half an inch of potting soil.

Interested? Check out these helpful hints for starting up your own fall garden this year.

Fall garden how-to – Read this article for a good overview for first-time fall gardeners. IT covers everything from what, when and how to plant, feeding and fertilizing your soil and plants, keeping your veggies watered and mulched and protected from pests. There is also a handy fall garden-planting schedule you might consider following for next year.

Fall is not just for veggies – Maybe you’re not into autumn vegetables but you still want some natural color after your summer flowerbeds have withered. Try these 20 recipes for colorful fall container-garden creations.

Lengthening your growing season – Extend your fall garden by building greenhouses; raised beds; windbreaks and walls which add 10 to 15 degrees of warmth for your plants cloches – portable greenhouses that use solar energy to warm plants; cold frames – permanent structures which can be made out of old window sashes.

Use fall veggies to contain fall flowers – I love this idea of cleaning out a pumpkin and planting a shock of hardy mums, dubbed a “mumkin!” Cut the top of a pumpkin, with a wide enough opening to accommodate your plant. Clean out the pumpkin guts, allow it to dry. I’ve seen other Pinners suggest spraying the inside of the pumpkin with bleach to prevent mold, which would help the pumpkin planter last a little longer. Then place your mums – pot and all – into the pumpkin. Taking the plant out of the pumpkin to water, and allowing excess water to drain before replacing the plant, will keep moisture from building up and prematurely rotting the pumpkin.

Now, what to do with those fall veggies? – Cut them up and roast them, of course. Root vegetables are especially yummy when roasted with some olive oil, herbs and seasonings. 

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