Now is the perfect time to begin thinking about what you will do with your vegetable garden this fall and winter. Will you let your summer veggies go until the frost gets them? If so, then keep a couple of things in mind.
- Be sure you pull up those veggies when they’re done. Debris left in a garden is a perfect place for insects to lay eggs or diseases to wait.
- After you pull them up, consider topping your garden with several inches of compost. You don’t even need to work it in. Every time it precipitates over the winter, nutrients get leached further into the soil.
- You could plant a “cover crop” over the winter. It will keep weeds from taking over, and when you till them in early spring, they help to enrich the soil. Cover crops like crimson clover provide food for bees.
Remember, over the fall and winter, check your garden every couple of weeks to ensure the beds stay free of weeds, fallen leaves, and other debris, which can give insects a place to lay eggs and harbor mold spores or other diseases.
Get Ready to Plant
Now, if you’re looking forward to cool-season veggies like I am, mid-end August is the perfect time to plant many of them.
You can start seeds in little pots outside—keeping them in an area where they get good dappled sun but no beating sun. Cool-season crops don’t like broiling hot summer sun. You can start some seeds indoors, but read the back of the seed packet to see if they do or don’t recommend it. Root crops, like beets, carrots, and turnips, should always be sowed directly in the ground as they do NOT transplant well.
Look for spots to plant seeds or seedlings around the first or second weekend in September. By then, I usually have some bean plants ready to go or squash plants that have given into powdery mildew. Some of the seedlings I’ll transplant into bigger pots, buying time until I’m ready to pull up the peppers or cucumbers.
Read the Back of the Seed Packet
Remember, when to plant your seeds, how far apart, how deep, and even if sowing inside or direct sowing outside is best; the seed packet will tell you this. If you’ve got any questions, we’re always here to help!