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The Fall Garden, Getting Ready

As the days begin to shorten and the heat of summer is slowly disappearing… fall gardening becomes priority.  Visions of collards, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots dance in my head.  First things first… soil prep.  Soil preparation is numero uno for a fall garden.  So just erase that picture of collards for a moment.  And focus.  Focus!

That’s right… the compost bin!

A full compost bin is one of the most welcomed sights to any gardener. Many books give detailed instructions on how to maintain compost piles or create compost bins out of T-posts and wire mesh. These composting methods work for a lot of people who don’t have dogs. Our first compost bin was the T-post and wire mesh variety. I happily cut the tops out of milk jugs and filled them with egg shells and whatnot (no meat or dairy products). We emptied them into the bin (which we were quite proud of).

In just twenty-four hours, our wonderful cat and dogs dug out the scraps and ruined our bin. A quick call to my Aunt Nancy solved the problem. Nancy, who grew up on a farm in PA, told us to take an old garbage can and drill holes in the bottom. She said to make sure the lid could be secured to keep the rain off of the compost.  Turning the compost is easily done with a pitch fork.  We tried this method and love it for small-scale composting.

Good compost is like pear pie for plants.  Only good for you.  So maybe not pie for plants.  You get the idea.

Spread out the good stuff.  And till.  Stop when the compost is completely turned over into your top soil.

Now you can start planting those fabulous cool weather nonacidic goodies: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach and turnips.  Get those leaves together for more compost.  You’ll need to compost again after this harvest.  And what a harvest it will be:

  • Lynnie - Cool! That means maybe we can still plant some stuff since our garden was a tad pathetic this year!

    Oh–I scrolled down and saw your post asking people for ideas for you future farm. I just read in a blog a cool one (The Artful Parent one). You can have kids gently carve their name in a pumpkin or other touch skinned vegetable when it’s small and then come back later and see how their name actually grew along with the pumpkin! I wish we’d done this, but there’s always next year!ReplyCancel

  • Michele - We also did our fall gardening this weekend. We put in green beans, onions, broccoli, & tomatoes. In Phoenix, tomatoes are grown in the fall to spring season. Took us one really hot summer to figure this out. Coming from the Pacific Northwest it was quite an adjustment.

    I’d love to see your fall garden in full swing.ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - Hi Lacy,
    Boy are you very fortunate to be able to have a fall garden. Here we have spring planting (May long weekened) and then maybe by the end of June you can start eating salad greens but not tomatoes yet. To make a long story short we are finished gardening by the middle of October). Then the process starts over again in Spring. It would be totally awesome to grow a garden almost year round. We would consider ourselves rich. That is not to say we did not get blessed with an bountyful crop because we did. It is just after the crop has been done then the canning, freezing and dehydrations of foods take place, It could be why we plant big gardens so that the food lasts from growing season to the next.

    I find your post so informative and educational. It make me feel very blessed. Keep up the great work. lol Love AlwaysReplyCancel

  • Ann - Oooo, that looks sooooooooo good. Here is the dessert, a garden is so difficult to grow, such a luxury – so your fresh veggies look so wonderfully decadent!ReplyCancel

  • gingela5 - Wow, that’s amazing! I can’t even keep little puny flowers alive in my “garden.” People who can actually produce something from a garden amaze me!ReplyCancel

  • The Fall Garden, Getting Ready | Gardening Tips and Info - […] Continued here:  The Fall Garden, Getting Ready […]ReplyCancel

  • CrossView - We don’t normally plant a fall garden. But we were talking about it this past weekend. Especially about the broccoli part! I’ll show my husband your post and see if it inspires him – who will in turn inspire me! =DReplyCancel

  • Fall Gardening Checklist Web Roundup : GardenFingers - […] The Fall Garden, Getting Ready […]ReplyCancel

  • marky - What a great tip with the compost.. and very affordable!
    I am thinking next year my garden will rock, thanks for all the helpful tips Lacy!ReplyCancel

  • Fishing Guy - Lacy: Southern gardening is definetly different then up North. We turn the soil over and wait until Spring is here. We had a heavy frost this morning and I had to scrap my car windows. The frost was really thick on all the windows.ReplyCancel

  • YDavis - I didn’t plant a fall garden this year. My garden is done for this year. We had frost last night. I picked all my green peppers and butternut squash and basil. Tomatoes were done a few weeks ago.ReplyCancel

  • Tia Julie - beets……. Yuchy. I know it is a matter of preference, but Yuchy! All the other fall veggies sound marvelous.ReplyCancel

  • Barb - Hi Lacy,
    No more gardening for me! I’m tuckered out! Besides, our growing season, even for root crops are over. I’ve been composting too! My huge 3 piles are quite a chore…wanna come help?
    Momma BarbReplyCancel

  • CC - Fall gardening??? You mean my fruitless efforts in the spring weren’t enough???

    You totally need to get both of you out West and do some serious re-educating of us city-folks!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Others said it before me, we have a different growing season all together. We are lazy composters. We have all our stuff thrown in a pile and in a year or so, dig it up. I just don’t have time to go add soil or turn. It eventually is compost and we have a really big pile of it. Compost is great for the garden and now with chickens and donkeys there is extra fertilizer.ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - I love that last photo. It should be on a calendar somewhere.ReplyCancel

  • Tipper - I usually don’t do a Fall garden-but you make me want too!ReplyCancel

  • Kath - I would love to have a fall garden but not in this frigid area of the country! I picked the last of my tomatoes. May process the sunflowers seeds if the birds havent taken care of them by Tues.ReplyCancel

  • Dianne - You’re inspiring me! The problem here is that even though there are 58 acres, it’s almost ALL in TIMBER…just a small yard! My local wildlife here (DEER!! and other creatures) have eaten my summer flowers, etc….I can only imagine the fun they would have if I planted a much wanted vegetable garden! Anyone else have this problem and maybe a solution?? Thanks for inspiration, Lacy!ReplyCancel

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