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When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

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When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  sanderson on 9/21/2016, 2:47 am

I thought this was an interesting article posted by the Foundation on Face Book.  Spring does seem to be the logical time to start a garden.  The snow has melted, the ground can be worked and the day light hours are starting to get longer.  Sounds like row gardening to me.  

But, here's my tweak on it.  For a new SFG gardener, it actually makes sense to begin Square Foot Gardening in the Fall.  The location of the sun is an indication of both spring and fall sunshine border lines, so you know where to put the beds for good sunshine.  Some big box stores hold fall clearance sales so bags of compost may be found at great prices, not to mention plant labels, trellis netting, green gardener tape. tomato clamps, etc.  Make the beds, fill to over-flowing with fallen leaves, farm manure and bagged composts.  Water, cover and let nature make the compost over the winter.  Start a piggy bank to save money to buy vermiculite in the spring.  Watch for end-of-year clearance sales on seeds.  Order a couple of seed catalogues to browse during the winter.  Join the Forum and read threads in your Region for varieties that are well suited.

Come spring, remove the upper layers of compost that have not completed the process and set aside, as you'll need more compost during the growing season.  Add 2" of vermiculite and 2" of fluffed peat moss to the 2-3" of moist compost left in the beds and mix well.  Water well, add grids and you're ready to garden.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/fall-is-the-best-time-of-the-year-to-plant-a-square-foot-garden/

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 9/21/2016, 8:38 am

There's definitely something to be said for starting new boxes/beds/gardens in the fall, Sanderson!

It doesn't seem like much compost action happens during Pennsylvania winters, so here's my take on advantages - with a version that has the beds and MM complete in the fall instead of just as compost (ideally with mulch or unfinished compost, or a cover crop to protect the fresh MM):

- the ground in my area in fall isn't as mucky as spring -- even if I'm not digging in it, it's still more pleasant to not be churning the grass to mud around a new box
 - in my area it's less windy in the fall, or at least windy and non-windy days can be distinguished, so I can mix MM without it blowing away. Spring days in my area seem to alternate between breezy, gusty, and gale warning.
 - it gives the MM time to fully moisturize (maybe I'm doing it wrong, but the garden hose on day 1 doesn't do this 100% for me)
 -  it gives the MM time to settle so that I don't suddenly have 4" of MM with small plants that can't be buried (Or maybe the settling is another just-me problem...)
 - it gives time for microbes to colonize and establish themselves
 - you can grow a (winter) cover crop without feeling like you're missing out on 'real' vegetables
 - it's all ready to go in the spring, you aren't working against as much of a deadline for having things done before #wks before/after first frost so you can get your plants going in time to mature before hot weather - or ASAP so they can yield before first frost.
 - the sales you mentioned
 - it allows the winter season for carefully planning your new space (aka the catalogs you mentioned)

I'm hoping to switch about 4 beds worth of amended-dirt garden over to ANSFG between when first frost and true winter. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that and build 3 cold frames before true winter, but that's the plan!

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  Cajun Cappy on 9/21/2016, 10:52 am

Fall has always been our favorite time for garden projects.  We are already excitedly discussing projects.  It is still too brutal hot but soon as we cool some we can hardly wait to start again.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  countrynaturals on 9/21/2016, 11:04 am

Fall is "2nd spring" around here anyway. I'm loving my fall garden and already starting on the winter garden for the greenhouse, the sun porch, and "the salad bar" (waist-high sfg beds).    My goal is to have fresh veggies all year long. I love you

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  trolleydriver on 9/21/2016, 12:11 pm

countrynaturals wrote:Fall is "2nd spring" around here anyway. I'm loving my fall garden and already starting on the winter garden for the greenhouse, the sun porch, and "the salad bar" (waist-high sfg beds).    My goal is to have fresh veggies all year long. I love you
It's just not fair. I will have to settle for just growing microgreens indoors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REycnP_7Lbc



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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  countrynaturals on 9/21/2016, 12:45 pm

trolleydriver wrote:
countrynaturals wrote:Fall is "2nd spring" around here anyway. I'm loving my fall garden and already starting on the winter garden for the greenhouse, the sun porch, and "the salad bar" (waist-high sfg beds).    My goal is to have fresh veggies all year long. I love you
It's just not fair. I will have to settle for just growing microgreens indoors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REycnP_7Lbc


Can't you find a spot for a bush cuke and a grape tomato? That's all I had my first winter. geek

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  trolleydriver on 9/21/2016, 2:03 pm

countrynaturals wrote:
trolleydriver wrote:
countrynaturals wrote:Fall is "2nd spring" around here anyway. I'm loving my fall garden and already starting on the winter garden for the greenhouse, the sun porch, and "the salad bar" (waist-high sfg beds).    My goal is to have fresh veggies all year long. I love you
It's just not fair. I will have to settle for just growing microgreens indoors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REycnP_7Lbc


Can't you find a spot for a bush cuke and a grape tomato? That's all I had my first winter. geek
CN ... Indoor bush cukes or grape tomatoes are good ideas and worth a try. The best place to locate them would be at the living room window. That would require careful negotiation with SWMBO.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  sanderson on 9/21/2016, 3:29 pm

BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:There's definitely something to be said for starting new boxes/beds/gardens in the fall, Sanderson!

- the ground in my area in fall isn't as mucky as spring -- even if I'm not digging in it, it's still more pleasant to not be churning the grass to mud around a new box
 - in my area it's less windy in the fall, or at least windy and non-windy days can be distinguished, so I can mix MM without it blowing away. Spring days in my area seem to alternate between breezy, gusty, and gale warning.
 - it gives the MM time to fully moisturize (maybe I'm doing it wrong, but the garden hose on day 1 doesn't do this 100% for me)
 -  it gives the MM time to settle so that I don't suddenly have 4" of MM with small plants that can't be buried (Or maybe the settling is another just-me problem...)
 - it gives time for microbes to colonize and establish themselves
 - you can grow a (winter) cover crop without feeling like you're missing out on 'real' vegetables
 - it's all ready to go in the spring, you aren't working against as much of a deadline for having things done before #wks before/after first frost so you can get your plants going in time to mature before hot weather - or ASAP so they can yield before first frost.
 - the sales you mentioned
 - it allows the winter season for carefully planning your new space (aka the catalogs you mentioned)

I'm hoping to switch about 4 beds worth of amended-dirt garden over to ANSFG between when first frost and true winter. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that and build 3 cold frames before true winter, but that's the plan!
Good points!  When I wrote this, I was thinking of new members/browsers who think they have to wait until spring to get started on the beds.  Also, leaves are so important for compost or mulch and fall is the time to collect the year's worth.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  countrynaturals on 9/21/2016, 5:39 pm

Amen to that. I've been raking leaves for about a month, now, and lining the bottoms of my new containers with them. Cool

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My Fall garden pics

Post  MrBooker on 9/22/2016, 1:00 pm

My fall garden is doing well in Zone 6A. S/W Illinois. I started planting from late July through  early September.
 Turnips on the left....... Georgia collards on the right.

 Sweet Taters in 18 gallon tote..    I can wait,...... but I can't hardly... lol







   This site wont let me upload anymore pics Sad

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  trolleydriver on 9/22/2016, 1:06 pm

MrB ... that is very impressive indeed.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  countrynaturals on 9/22/2016, 1:08 pm

Your plants are gorgeous, MrB. You are DEFINITELY doing things right. 

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  MrBooker on 9/22/2016, 1:31 pm

Thank you guys, and gals for the compliments. I was trying to post more pics but something went wrong. We've had some cool nights as low as 54 deg F and the plants love it.
The January King cabbage I planted is supposed to withstand 18 deg temp. We'll see huh?

My garlic arrived yesterday and I'm going to amend the bed with some horsie poo and compost and plant this weekend. Not much experience with garlic. Thanks again.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  sanderson on 9/22/2016, 2:29 pm

countrynaturals wrote:Your plants are gorgeous, MrB. You are DEFINITELY doing things right. 
+1

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  Cajun Cappy on 9/22/2016, 2:42 pm

Your gardens look amazing Sir and we are besides our self with inspired inspiration.  We are eagerly awaiting the first cold front which will signal the start of our fall winter gardens its 2 weeks late from last year so we can hardly wait.  We cant jump the gun cause the 90+ temps and humidity would cook young plants fore they could get started.  Fall is always hard on us watching hyou all get a head start on us.  We get our payback in the spring when we start over in March  Razz Laughing

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  countrynaturals on 9/22/2016, 4:02 pm

Cajun Cappy wrote:Your gardens look amazing Sir and we are besides our self with inspired inspiration.  We are eagerly awaiting the first cold front which will signal the start of our fall winter gardens its 2 weeks late from last year so we can hardly wait.  We cant jump the gun cause the 90+ temps and humidity would cook young plants fore they could get started.  Fall is always hard on us watching hyou all get a head start on us.  We get our payback in the spring when we start over in March  Razz Laughing
I jumped the gun on a few things -- radishes in particular -- but so far everything is looking okay. We still have a couple more 100 degree days coming up next week, then it should really be fall, here.Cool

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  MrBooker on 9/23/2016, 4:23 am

countrynaturals wrote:
Cajun Cappy wrote:Your gardens look amazing Sir and we are besides our self with inspired inspiration.  We are eagerly awaiting the first cold front which will signal the start of our fall winter gardens its 2 weeks late from last year so we can hardly wait.  We cant jump the gun cause the 90+ temps and humidity would cook young plants fore they could get started.  Fall is always hard on us watching hyou all get a head start on us.  We get our payback in the spring when we start over in March  Razz Laughing
I jumped the gun on a few things -- radishes in particular -- but so far everything is looking okay. We still have a couple more 100 degree days coming up next week, then it should really be fall, here.Cool
"I jumped the gun on a few things -- radishes in particular"    I did the same thing with radish AND leaf lettuce. The lettuce I planted in a clay pot is doing well but I was able to move it to some shade when it got hot.  It been really hot and humid here most all summer and its been a chore keeping everything watered. I'm able to catch 155 gallons of rain water but it don't last that long.

     All in all, everything went pretty well this summer but I really regret not keeping records of everything. Rolling Eyes
I jotted down a few notes here and there and intended on putting the info in a ledger but it never happened. I'm sure I'll pay for it next spring.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  landarch on 9/23/2016, 9:46 am

fall can be best for fall cole crops as temps are falling when heads are forming...if one can keep seedlings watered in the heat of July and August.

if getting a late start, one can jump right in with spinach and garlic...maybe some quickly growing Asian greens or radishes.

I just overseeded my lawn...so I will not mow again until mid-October...and I typically get a great mix of fallen leaves and grass greens...perfect mix for the compost pile.

it was really hot and dry for fall carrot and beet seeds/ seedlings in August...I've reseeded but may have to do some weather protection before they're ready.

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

Post  MrBooker on 9/25/2016, 6:05 am


it was really hot and dry for fall carrot and beet seeds/ seedlings in August...
I had to water my seedlings twice a day until they got established. Beets and carrots are doing pretty good now but It's still been hot here. I think fall is just around the corner though. Next week, daytime highs in the low 70 and as low as 50 F at night.

I need to get my plastic covers ready for the hoop houses but lately I've been busy as a set of jumper cables at a red neck flea market. Very Happy

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Re: When is a great time to start a garden? The Fall!

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