Monday, August 29, 2016

Fall, the second gardening season

Now's the time the second gardening season begins. The days are cooler and the soil is warm, perfect conditions to plant a second crop of cool weather vegetables. Most cool weather crops don't need a full day of sunlight in order to grow. The spot in your garden that didn't have enough light to grow tomatoes, will do just fine for spinach, lettuce or arugula.
Make the most of your space by planting some Packman broccoli or Bloomsdale spinach  along the edge of your perennial garden. Potted petunias and other flowering annuals starting to look tired? Plant some colorful Bright Lights Swiss Chard or Red Winter Kale seed or starts of Early Snowball cauliflower, in their place. Don't have room in the garden? Cool weather crops are shallow-rooted so it's easy to plant seeds or starts in a container on the patio.
Take advantage of the cool fall temperatures to try some Asian greens such as Mizuna or Bok Choy. Asian greens add unusual shapes, textures and spicy flavors to salads. More choices to plant now include basil, cilantro, chives, dill, lavender, cabbage, beets, radishes and peas. These cool weather crops will do fine and you can harvest fresh greens well into winter. For short maturing greens consider Chef's Medley Mesclun lettuce, Matador spinach, Rocket Salad arugula. All of these greens will be ready in less than 30 days.
Radishes such as French Breakfast and Cherry Belle can be planted now and will be ready to harvest in less than a month.
Planting greens in the fall should include refreshing the garden soil with some compost or peat moss. Add some fertilizer to the row as you plant.
Keep a frost cloth handy for those nights when cooler temperatures threaten your crop. This will help extend your "greens" garden well into late fall. There's nothing like a dinner salad picked from your own garden.  It's fresh and you know exactly what's in it.

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