Fall Garden planning - happening now!
Summer is in full swing here in Seattle after a few weeks of gloomy weather! Are you anxiously awaiting the first red tomato? I know I certainly am! If you think you have missed the boat on a productive garden this year, think again! It is not too late!
July is the perfect time to plant a fall garden. With a little planning you can still have a bountiful harvest before the end of the season! Many plants can be started from seed now. Beets, carrots, or green beans can all be sowed while this lovely sun is shining! Vegetable starts like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are perfectly suited for summer planting and will be ready for a fall harvest as the weather cools off.
Tips for a successful fall garden - Purchasing Check the seed packets before purchasing and check on the “days to maturity” section on the back - if there are a few varietials to choose from, be sure to pick the shortest! Look for the most sturdy seedlings at the nursery - many stores will have discounted plants at this time of the year, so be sure to choose the most healthy looking and avoid those wilting or long leggy plants.
Tips for a successful fall garden - Planting Find your space and lay down 1-2 inches of compost to support the soil. Water the soil to give the seeds/starts a moist surface for their feet. Plant the seeds/starts in the ground with a little balanced fertilizer, pack down the soil tightly to give a nice firm floor for the roots - Water again!
Tips for a successful fall garden - Watering As the weather becomes hot and dry in the next few weeks - it will be critical to continue to water for success. It is important to water wisely in order to save time and costs and help ensure that your plants thrive. Any seeds planted now will need to be watered every day until the seeds break the soil. After they have sprouted, it is better to water less often and more deeply versus frequent and shallow watering. Mornings are the best time of day to water to prevent evaporation. Water two to three times a week making sure to focus on the root ball of the plant, avoiding the leaves. You can also make a small soil “saucer” around the plant to keep the water at the roots.
If you are thinking about planting lettuce, spinach, or radishes in your edible garden, give it a few more weeks. These plants don’t like the heat and will be more successful if you hold off until later in August when the evenings are more cool!