Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

Just when you’ve  gotten this year’s vegetable garden put away for the year, it’s time to start planning for next year’s garden. When you come to realize that the majority of Americans plan to engage in some form of gardening projects next year, it’s truly amazing. Just think about how many are pulled into the vegetable patch each year. MyWestTexas.com put out a recent article that I thought would provoke those of you who were going to hibernate for the winter and get you starting thinking about what you’ll do for next spring’s planting season.

Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

Planning a spring vegetable garden? According to the National Gardening Association, eight out of 10 Americans will engage in some

vegetable garden

Photo by audaxl c/o Photos.Com.

variety of gardening in 2013 whether it’s in the form of planting an extensive vegetable patch, forcing indoor bulbs or planting some color near the front door of your home. Don’t allow the cool temperatures and shorter days of fall to retire your thoughts from chores that can be done now to make a spring vegetable garden more successful.

Decide today which vegetables you want to have on your table next year and plan accordingly. Site selection is the first step in planning your garden. Chose a flat location that receives plenty of sunlight; most vegetables require six to eight hours. If the garden receives too much intense light you can always provide shade, but a site that is too shady can’t be corrected. High winds can really do a number on your vegetables, so chose a site that provides protection from our West Texas gusts.

The best vegetable garden is the one you plan well ahead of time and get everything ready for in advance. Remember to keep your garden plan in line with your ability to manage it. In fact, you could even plan for a denser garden within the same footprint by adopting some square-foot gardening techniques. Try something new you haven’t done before and just see how it goes. Then share it with us here.
Please leave a comment and let everyone know what you’re up to in the garden plot.
A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.   — Gertrude Stein

Tips For Vegetable Gardening In Winter

Just wanted to draw your attention to the benefits of winter vegetable gardening. Have you considered it? You should. There are many places around the globe that have very short growing seasons and must be adapted to produce vegetable garden crops under these circumstances. Nova Scotia is one of those locations. Here, writer and gardener Niki Jabbour shares some tips and tricks for getting your garden to produce even when most gardeners might pack it in for the season. Her article appears in HalifaxNewsNet.

Tips For Vegetable Gardening In Winter

With the arrival of autumn in just a few days, it’s officially time to start thinking about protecting fall, and even winter, vegetables and herbs. In our 2,000 square foot veggie garden, I rely on a handful of sneaky season extenders to stretch our harvest from the traditional May to September garden into a full year-round food factory. Yes, I said year-round! Even in the middle of January and February we can walk up to the garden and harvest about 30 different crops – from salad greens (spinach, Swiss chard, mache,

winter vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening in winter can be done using a few easy techniques such as cold framing or using a cloche. Photo by Jonathan Eastland c/o Photos.Com.

mizuna, mustards, tatsoi, kale) to root crops (carrots, beets, parsnips, celery root) and even several stem crops (scallions, leeks, kohlrabi).

My secret is to grow the right vegetables at the right time and protect them with the right season extender. For example, I wouldn’t choose to grow heat loving vegetables like tomatoes in mid-winter, but rather cold tolerant crops like kale and spinach. Then, I pair them up with a protective device like a cold frame, cloche, mini hoop tunnel or even a thick layer of mulch.

Read Nikki’s other suggestions and tips here at halifaxnewsnet.ca:

Growing your crops by vegetable gardening in winter will greatly extend your garden’s output for the season. It will also enable you to do some valuable crop rotation since the warm weather varieties will necessarily differ in their nutrient requirements from those you plant for the cold. Choosing your crop varieties to be cold tolerant and then making an appropriate micro-climate for them using cold-frames and mulching can provide food throughout the winter months. Why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself.

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Half the interest of the garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.     — Mrs. C. W. Earle

Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Well, it’s October now, and before you know it another vegetable gardening season will come to a close as winter sets in. There are some crops that do tolerate a good touch of frost, but generally speaking, vegetables don’t grow in the snow for good reason. That said, many common garden vegetables can still be planted late in the season and harvested. Right now you should be making arrangements for what’s going to be harvested and when, as well as protecting what is still in the ground from sudden drops in temperature. This is especially of concern overnight when the below freezing cold can creep in on little cat feet and steal your hard work. Here is an article by Bunny Guinness in The Telegraph that enumerates some of the preparations she recommends that keep her garden going even into very cold weather.

Fall Vegetable Gardening: As Winter Approaches

Winter gardens are like chilly swimming pools, refreshing and invigorating once you have taken the plunge. I like to get out in the garden most weekends, relishing the crisper air and more energetic types of winter gardening.

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening in the cold is possible with the right crop selection and planning. Photo by Alain Turgeon c/o Photos.Com.

Keeping your vegetable beds brimful so you have an “outdoor larder” stocked for continual use works in many ways. Making sure the soil is always covered with plants helps stop nutrients being washed through the soil, and keeps the soil structure and organisms in good order.

You can grow edibles you cannot buy and, most important of all, having a wide range of vegetables and herbs means your menus become more diverse and biased in favour of greenery.

The winter vegetable garden needs a little help in the soil department. No green manures for me, though. I would rather have a productive crop and just add compost to top up organic matter. I add this whenever I change a crop and earth up and top-dress with it too.

Check your soil’s pH. The RHS is offering free soil testing of four samples (to everyone, not just members) till the end of October (see rhs.org.uk). Even on my alkaline (pH8) soil, the continual addition of compost increases the acidity, so adding lime (usually in winter) is necessary.

When your vegetable gardening season starts coming to a close, realize that there is still plenty of life left in your garden. With the proper planning, plant selection and timing, you can still get another round of produce out of it. Why not try some of Bunny’s suggestions for your own garden and see what you can harvest. You might surprise yourself.
Please leave a comment below. If you’re one of those late season vegetable gardeners like Bunny, share your experiences with us. You can also click the like button and share this idea with a fellow gardener.
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.  —  Tom Robbins

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

You might be tempted into thinking that the growing season is over now that it’s almost October, but there are still plenty of fall vegetable gardening activities to get going on. Besides cleanup, there are still plenty of crop varieties that can be planted and will yield a nice harvest later in the fall. These have to be cold tolerant plants that can take a bit of mild frost. Here is a short article by U. C. Master Gardener Jim Borland that appeared in the San Luis Obispo Tribune describing all the frenetic gardening activity going on this fall.

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

In your vegetable garden, pumpkins and winter squash should be harvested soon and moved into a cool, airy location where they can

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening brings the season to a close and gets the garden ready for next year. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

last for many months. From now on, regularly check your stored vegetable crops and remove anything showing signs of rot or damage to prevent the spread to healthy material.

You can plant hardy lettuce crops, spinach, onions, broccoli, beets, carrots and other winter vegetables. Don’t forget to aid next summer’s effort by making a note of what has been growing, and where, in your summer vegetable garden.

Fall vegetable gardening can be both fun and productive. Do make sure to mark what was growing where in your garden so you can plant something else there next spring. This will hopefully be a normal part of your crop succession plan so that your soil never gets depleted of nutrients because of over planting of one crop. Get out all the dead stuff and make sure you remove anything with disease or fungus and dispose of it separately. Make sure to harvest and store your produce properly (more on this in an upcoming post). You’ll find out that growing and harvesting vegetables in the fall greatly extends your growing season and maximizes the productivity of your garden.
Please leave a comment and share any gardening experiences with the rest of us here.
The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.
                                                                 — Torquato Tasso

Does Vegetable Gardening Save Money?

Many folks start their own vegetable gardening efforts in an attempt to either get healthier or to save money. While it can probably be argued easily that the stuff you grow will most decidedly be fresher, and therefore healthier for you, than what you buy in the store, there are a lot of variables that determine if you’ll also save money doing it. Starting a vegetable garden and getting it established takes time, effort and money.  Here is a very short piece by Jenny Bardsley who wrote about her own experiences on this subject for the Herald Net.

Does Vegetable Gardening Save Money?

Here’s a picture of the harvest from our vegetable garden last Saturday. That’s almost $20 worth of organic vegetables pulled fromvegetable gardening our side-yard. So vegetable gardening must be saving our family a lot of money, right?

Read her entire post here at heraldnet.com:

Growing your own fresh organic produce by vegetable gardening in your backyard is probably going to make you feel better and, depending on how big it is, may even make you healthier because you got it at its freshest and most nutritious. But whether you save money doing it is debatable, certainly in the beginning anyway. Now, having said that, I by no means intend to discourage anyone from starting their own vegetable gardens. To the contrary — go forth and grow something. The exercise you get (just think of all those health club membership dollars you’re saving) and the pride of growing your own food (priceless) are worth quite a lot on their own. Spending money now on establishing and maintaining a family vegetable garden that, say, five years from now will have established itself reliably and has begun to pay back your initial investment is no different than taking vitamins and supplements to help prevent illness in the future. You either spend the money now for good nutritious food or you spend it later on medications and lots of doctor visits. There’s no free lunch any way you look at it.

Please leave your opinions and experiences below in a comment or two. Click on the like button and share with a friend.

Try the mustard, — a man can’t know what turnips are in perfection without mustard.  — Mark Twain

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

I think that one of the best aspects of organic vegetable gardening is your ability to propagate your vegetable plants each succeeding year. As long as you are using heirloom varieties and not the commercial hybridized seed varieties, you can isolate and preserve your seed stock for the next season. Once they’re dried, store them either in the refrigerator or some cool dry location away from light. The article here is more focused on flower seeds, but the principles apply. I’ll be setting up a static page here soon that covers this topic in detail for those of you who are interested. preserving our seed stock has become more important lately due to economic and climate factors that may make it necessary for many of us to depend on our vegetable gardens to grow more of our own food than ever before. Here is a short primer on seed preservation by Master Gardener Joe Lamp’l written for Scripps Howard News Service that recently appeared in Wicked Local Ashland.

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

One of fall’s most pleasant chores is collecting, drying and saving the seed from my favorite garden flowers and vegetables. It’s

organic vegetable gardening

Organic vegetable gardening heirloom plants allows saving seeds for next season. Photo by IT Stock Free c/o Photos.Com.

relaxing, and fills me with anticipation about next year’s garden even as this one is winding down. I also love to share seeds with other gardeners. This preserves and propagates favorite plants across the land — and propels them into the future.

You can collect most any seed, but I recommend starting with easy-to-save kinds like sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus), Zone 3-8, or hollyhock (Alcea rugosa), Zone 4-8, and those whose seed is expensive to buy commercially, like gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii), Zone 8-10.

Hard-to-find seed like Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), Zone 3-8, are good candidates, too. Collect from as many healthy, robust plants as you can. This helps preserve genetic diversity and reduces the chance for passing on undesirable traits such as susceptibility to disease.

It’s best to harvest from heirloom or open-pollinated plants — those propagated by wind, insects and other “natural” means — rather than hybrids.

Using organic vegetable gardening techniques you can very easily preserve and propagate your vegetable seeds for next year. There are methods for preparing your seeds for longer term storage, but I plan to cover that topic in a report that’ll be up in the near future. Try your hand at saving some seeds for next growing season. You can always start them indoors and see if they germinate before committing them to your vegetable garden in earnest.
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The man who has nothing to boast of but his ancestors is like a potato – the only good belonging to him is under ground.  — Sir Thomas Overbury

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

For the best fall vegetable gardening experience this year, take steps early to grow vegetables that are appropriate for the late season. Certain crops are particularly suited to be planted in late summer or early fall and are usually always cold and frost tolerant. You can typically harvest them very late into the fall, some well into November. This piece written by master gardener Charlotte Glen for the Star News Online provides a great deal of guidance to beginner and experienced gardeners alike this fall planting season.

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

Don’t let limited garden space stop you from growing vegetables this fall. Many cool-season crops are easy to grow in containers

fall vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening into the fall extends the growing season.

and now is the time to plant them.

Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula thrive even in shallow pots. They are often planted mixed together with herbs and other greens in bowl-shaped containers, providing all the ingredients you need for healthy, tasty salads in a single pot.

Supplies

You do not need a lot of supplies to start a salad bowl garden.

Start with the container, which does not have to be bowl-shaped. Rectangular window box containers and round pots work just as well. Containers of many types can be recycled for the purpose as long as they are at least six inches deep and have several drainage holes drilled into the bottom. I have even seen cardboard boxes used as planting containers for a single season. An old T-shirt can be wrapped around the outside of the box to help it hold together.

Next, you need potting soil. Most potting soils will work well, but avoid those that have a lot of bark. They are too coarse for smaller pots and will dry out too quickly.

If you are unsure of what to buy, choose a seed-starting mix. These mixes usually contain a combination of peat moss and vermiculite and are designed for use in shallow containers. There is no need to buy a soil that already contains fertilizer. In fact, it is usually better to add fertilizer separately.

Get the complete list for all of Charlotte’s fall gardening recommendations here at starnewsonline.com:

Late season vegetable gardening is something I am increasingly turning to in order to extend my growing season in the backyard. You can also use these techniques, with a little advanced planning, to help rotate your crops through your garden and thereby not deplete your soil of certain nutrients. Just go ahead and start some vegetable crops now and see what grows. You’ll have a significant amount of knowledge built up for next year by trying your hand at late season vegetable gardening this autumn.

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below. What sorts of vegetable are you planting this fall? Click on the like button to share.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  —  Marcelene Cox

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

Planting a fall vegetable garden requires planning. You have to know when the first frost is likely (going to) occur. You also have to know the time to maturity of each of your plantings so you can beat that date and have time to harvest your crop. Here is an article by Karol Kelly for The Telegraph that covers some of the basics you should know before planting.

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

August is filled with hot days and wilted plants. While we have been fortunate to receive afternoon showers the past few weeks, it is

fall vegetable garden

Planning and planting your fall vegetable garden. Photo by Jupiterimages c/o Photos.Com.

usually only a temporary respite for our lawns and gardens. With the promise of cooler temperatures blowing in during the next couple of months, this is an ideal time to begin planning for a fall vegetable garden.

As with spring gardens, till the soil and add lime and fertilizer as recommended by your soil test. In the absence of a soil test, start with 10 pounds of 10-10-10 per 1,000 square feet. Follow the label directions if you are using a liquid fertilizer. Crops such as cabbage, lettuce, onion, greens, peppers and radish are considered heavier feeders and require more fertilization.

Fall vegetables vary in the number of days required to reach maturity. A radish plant can take as few as 25 days to maturity, while carrots, lettuce and cabbage can take up to 80 days. To maintain a constant supply of lettuce and radish, seed every couple of weeks through early October. Transplants can be set out later.

A fall vegetable garden is easy to start and to grow once you know when to plant and when to harvest. By growing later in the season you can extend your growing season and make the most of your garden space.
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CABBAGE, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor’s Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty’s measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.”          — Ambrose Bierce

Fall Vegetable Gardening

So you’ve decided to do some fall vegetable gardening this year. Well, there are a few things you should know. You can in fact get certain crops going late in the regular growing season. In fact, some are really ideal for starting out late in the summer or very early fall, depending on where you happen to be living. Many crops thrive in the fall coolness and will take a frost or two and come back for more. Here is a short piece by Neil Sperry written for the Star- Telegram that gives a short primer on what to do for a great fall season, and how to protect your investment.

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Mid-August might not pop to mind as a prime planting time, but for several important vegetable crops and for three popular

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening extends the growing season and provides new crops to enjoy. Photo by Stockbyte c/o Photos.Com.

annual flowers, it’s their turn for the spotlight.

You’ll find the various “cole” crops at the top of the mid-August vegetable planting list. Cabbage is the most popular, but the list also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. All thrive in fall’s cooler weather. In fact, all are capable of withstanding light freezes prior to harvest. But they need to be planted now.

The biggest challenge in growing these plants in the fall might actually be in finding the transplants. You’ll want fresh and vigorous plants of well-suited varieties, and your best chance of finding them now will probably be through local independent retail garden centers and feed stores.

Set the transplants into well-prepared garden soil. All of them will need 18 to 24 inches of space between plants within their rows, and the rows should be 36 to 42 inches apart to permit easy access. If you’re careful to select transplants that have been in full sun in the nursery, setting them into the garden now should present no problems. Plant them into small “wells” an inch or two deep to facilitate watering. Soak them every day for the first week or two, to allow them time to develop good roots.

Cabbage loopers are the bane of our spring cole crops. The larvae chew multitudes of holes in the leaves. They render cabbage useless as a leafy vegetable, and they weaken the growth and productivity of the other types. They’ll probably also find your fall plantings, so be on the lookout for the white butterflies that serve as your early warning signal. They seek the cole crops and lay their eggs on the leaves.

As soon as you see the horseshoe-shaped caterpillars starting to feed, apply the biological worm control Bacillus thuringiensis, known more commonly simply by its initials, “B.t.” It’s available as a dust or a spray, and it’s the only control, organic or inorganic, that works on these pests. It stops their feeding immediately, and they will die within 24 hours. It can be applied within 24 hours of harvest.

Fertilize all of these crops with a high-nitrogen food similar to one you might use on your lawn grass. Most of our soils test too high in phosphorus (middle number of the analysis) anyway, so nitrogen will be the prime need.

Read the entire article here at star-telegram.com:

Fall vegetable gardening can be both an adventure as well as a very enjoyable and delicious enterprise. Make sure you protect your veggie investment from those bugs and pests who want to get a free lunch at your expense. Try it and see what you can grow. You just might surprise yourself.

Share your thoughts and experiences with us. Have you tried fall vegetable gardening before? Give us some advice. Click the link and share it with friends.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.                                                                                                                                            — Author Unknown

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

When it comes to trying to start a fall vegetable garden, many beginning gardeners tend to have a few questions. Like, when should I start my plants, where can I start them, and how should I start them? Most vegetable crops that grow well in the fall when it’s cooler tend not to do so well when they’re just starting out in the full eat of summer. There are a few tricks to getting around that problem. Go ahead and pretend that it’s early spring and start them indoors. Why not! If the temperature isn’t right (too cold or too hot) just start them where they like it better and where you can control the growing conditions better. If inside isn’t going to work out, then work outside. Try getting them started in the shade of taller plants that are already established. Here’s a short (really short) take on the topic, as well as some other vegetable gardening tips, from Ellen Nibali written for the Baltimore Sun.

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

One way is to start them indoors, even leaf crops like endive. A cool basement works well. When they’re a few inches tall, you’ll need

fall vegetable garden

Start a fall vegetable garden indoors. Photo by Comstock c/o Photos.Com.

to acclimate the transplants to sun and heat conditions before you put them in the ground. A good time to transplant them into the soil is when a few days of overcast weather are forecast.

You can also start fall veggies in your garden in the shade of taller vegetable plants that will be removed at the end of summer. If your fall vegetable choice tolerates some shade, then you can plant in a semi shade location. Mulch them to keep roots cool as well as moist.

Read the entire article here at baltimoresun.com:

Sure, it’s an adventure to start a fall vegetable garden. Why not get going now? You can have another wonderful crop of fall veggies all ready to eat by late October and even into November.

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Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden…. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart.

                                                                            — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks