Monday, August 4, 2014

Falling into the next season....

It is that time of year where quite a few people are thinking about end of summer vacations, back to school shopping, Halloween costumes and more.  I am falling into autumnal gardening mode.  What can I plant to replace the annuals that I will pull from my garden or my containers?  What can I do that will add interest, excitement and added value to keep my pansies company.  I have just the solution - add edibles to my beds and perhaps a cover crop to keep those pesky weeds down during the winter months.

I had to identify what I could grow that would survive during the winter months with minimal care.  My options were greater than I thought.  I could sow a second season crop of radishes, kohlrabi, turnips, chard, collards, beets, lettuce, spinach, carrots, garlic, parsley and most importantly the latest "Super" food - KALE!  I understand that some say there will be a shortage of kale due to it's popularity.  Well, if you have not had kale salad using baby kale might want to go into your garden, plant some kale seeds and give it a try. You should not sow salad greens all at one time,  but every few days to once a week until mid September.  This depends on your available space - whether it be container or in the garden plot.  The best way to determine this is to READ THE BACK OF THE PACKET. In addition to the picture on the front, the information on the back is your yellow brick road to success.  You must however stay the course. Proper watering, weed control and perhaps in some instances, a floating row cover can aid in combating pests that could potentially ruin a good meal.

Starting some seeds in the fridge or a very cool garage, like spinach or lettuces that require cooler temps give you a head start on seedlings that could be transplanted as the temps get cooler. This also allows time to prepare the ground and perhaps consider cover crops.  Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange writes in "The Timber Press Guide To Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast" that she is using a clover cover crop during the winter months.  This adds and enhances nitrogen in the soil for the following season in addition to suppressing weeds.  You can mow or cut the clover and leave the debris to breakdown and act as a green manure, once again enhancing the soil. 

I am taking this hot month, as summer is drawing to an end, to observe my garden.  Look for gaps where I might need color next year, where I can sneak in some seeds of carrots or lettuces, some calendula, for late fall or early Spring bloom.  I will look at the containers that might not have done exactly what I wanted them to do.  Perhaps I can salvage or re-position some of those plants to finish out the summer in other containers.  I can seed the empty pots and look forward to a healthy harvest of awesomeness, right in my own back yard.  I can even plant my Paris Market Mix (Baby Mesclun Salad) in my recycled soda bottle this could be cool....

or perhaps I will use the Scarlet Charlotte Gourmet Ruby Chard, under planted  with Tenderleaf Corn Salad in the reusable salad planter bag....

Are you ready for Fall???  Have you considered the options  of enhancing your healthy options this fall and adding something beautiful at the same time???  I fall in love with my garden at least 365 days a year.  Right now I am falling in love with all things beautiful in my garden, as I fall into the next season. A new season to enjoy the fruits of this past summer, can and freeze for edible memories during the winter as I pause and of course plan for the seasons to come...


  1. That salad planter bag is my idea of a perfect garden! NO DIGGING! Haha. Great post. I'm sure you have some yummy veggies coming up.

    1. Oh yes....I will share as time and energy permit....if I don't eat the fruits of my labor first! Thank You!

  2. Hi Teresa,
    You really know your way around gardens! I am so inspired by this enlightening post! If only I had a little patch of dirt to play with!

  3. Thank goodness for experts! So glad to hear to hear I can still plant a few things! We have Sherwood Gardens here in Baltimore. Every spiring it has the prettiest collection of tulips. I participated in gathering those same tulip bulbs aftere that season was my question is when do I plant those bulbs?

  4. You are so timely. Thanks for edible ideas for fall/winter gardens with flowers too!
    Your post was better than the gardener's catalogue I just received.

  5. You are impressing and inspiring me. I must confess that I tend to wait to last thing in Spring, then see what I can get at the local organic nursery. I never plant from seed. But maybe next year...

  6. I'm not ready to think about fall gardening yet because I refuse to admit that summer is drawing to an end. But I do have a lot of transplanting and redesigning to do. That's always my favorite part along with seeing all my fall bloomers bloom. :o)


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