My Fall Vegetable Garden
Fall is fast approaching, and that means my favorite season for gardening has arrived! September is the month we get to start all of our fall favorites. For me, this means starting lettuce, kale, broccoli, and collards by seed in flats indoors. I use full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs, which mimics natural sunlight. In a couple of weeks, I will direct seed arugula, carrots, mustards, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips into my raised beds.
But before I get started direct seeding, I will first need to do some garden cleanup. Sadly, this means I will need to say goodbye to my basil and okra, which are still hanging on despite the heat (and despite the hurricane!). Then it will be time to add a fresh layer of compost. Additionally, I will be adding worm castings, which I have been creating for my fall garden in my home worm bin all summer. There is no better feeling then growing brassicas and lettuce from seed, digging small holes, adding homemade fresh worm castings to each, and planting the eager seedlings.
Fall is a wonderful time to garden in zone 8b – generally less pest pressure and a chance to plant hardy leafy greens that can be harvested all the way into spring. Of course, I always keep frost cloth around, in case temperatures dip below freezing for extended periods of time. In which case I will be sure to carefully cover my lettuce and Swiss chard, making sure the cloth is well secured.
I love my tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squash, but they usually involve staking and the ever imminent threat of caterpillars and intense heat. In the fall, most crops hold themselves off the ground, and I certainly cannot wait to pull on a jacket in the crisp early morning, come out to harvest kale and spinach leaves, and add them to my breakfast smoothie and veggie omelet.
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