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Don’t Fall for the “Fall” Fallacy: Autumn is an Awesome Time to Start a Garden

October 12th, 2013

shutterstock_119313934Have you have always wanted to grow your own garden and vowed that this year was the year, but found yourself so busy all spring and summer that you never quite got around to it? And now that the fall has arrived, you think it’s too late to start planting anything this year?

Good news: it’s never too late in the year to begin an indoor garden and in fact, starting small with a container garden is a great way to get a feel for the planting process before investing time, money and energy in a full-scale in-ground garden.

Alternatively, there are plenty of cool weather options if you want to plant a raised bed garden outside, so don’t think that just because the air is acquiring a chill that you’re completely out of outdoor options.

In fact, the fall actually presents some unique benefits for gardening. For one thing, the cooler weather is easier on the humans and plants, alike. Plus, the ground is still warm enough for roots to establish themselves this year, whereas if you wait until spring, you need to wait until the frost is over and that can be tricky (late frosts, etc.).

Even if your long-term goal is simply to grow items inside, the point is the same: there’s no time like the present to get going on your growing. Here are a few tips you can use in either growing situation, as well as suggestions for various types of fall vegetables that can still take root in your raised bed garden this year and some considerations for your container garden.

First Things First

Initially, you may think that a raised bed garden and a container garden are the same thing. After all, isn’t a container garden just pots of plants that are raised out of the ground? Not exactly.

A raised bed garden uses soil with the addition of compost to grow items and is often more closely associated with in-ground growing. Many times the bed is “raised” in the sense that it is merely built up to the point that it sits just above ground level and is boxed in with some sort of siding, most often a type of lumber. You might also have a raised bed that is perched upon a platform, thereby making it easier for the gardener to tend to the plants without having to bend over or kneel on the ground.

Container gardens, on the other hand, use soilless potting mix that must have a means for sufficient drainage. Although you can use your preference of containers, keep in mind that pottery dries out faster than plastic, so if you love the look of a terracotta pot, you can easily place a plastic tub or bucket inside of the pot, provided they both have drainage holes.

Both options are great for small spaces and tend to look neater than a large, unruly garden, since they reduce weeding. Starting plants from seeds is also an option for both methods.

Additionally, all plants have several basic requirements for survival that don’t depend on their physical planted location:

  • Sun: At least five to six hours of full sunlight every day is necessary for healthy growth.
  • Water: Although each plant has specific preferences where moisture is concerned, they all need it!
  • Food: Nutrients can be added in the form of liquid food or compost.
  • Well-drained soil is crucial to encourage healthy root growth, to prevent root rot and other diseases, and to ensure plants maintain appropriate chemical balances.

Fresh Fall Outdoor Options

If you opt for a raised bed garden, a few options that will survive and even thrive in chillier outdoor weather include:

  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Spinach

Just be sure to cover them with a blanket or utilize winter lights on especially cold nights or if you are getting a late start getting them in the ground.

*Tip: Fall foliage is a fantastic addition to your pile if you create your own compost. The last few lawn mowings of the season contribute to your “greens” and the dried leaves that fall throughout autumn can serve as some of your “browns!”

Herbaceous Harvest

Because indoor container gardens facilitate growth all year long, the fall is a fantastic time to see what seeds you can sprout inside. A collection of culinary herbs might be the perfect place to start, contenders include:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Parsley

*Tip: If you opt for a container garden, don’t use dirt you’ve dug up from the ground; even if used solely as a mix-in, outdoor garden dirt can contain parasites and soil-borne diseases which can be deadly to indoor plants. Instead, purchase soil mix or make your own and be sure to add time-released fertilizer.

What are some of your favorite cool weather garden components?

 

About the author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was provided by:

Home Depot store associate in Illinois for over 10 years, Chris Long enjoys giving tips ranging from when to plant or build a raised bed garden to fall lawn care maintenance. Chris is also a regular contributor on outdoor decor and gardening products for Home Depot’s blog

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Jerry’s Garden: Freedom is Growing Your Own Food

March 31st, 2011

 

I am a strong believer that just because you may not have land to garden, it doesn’t mean you can’t garden!  I am fortunate enough to have a couple acres, but many of us are not so fortunate.  Just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you can’t do some good old fashioned survival gardening!  You just need to adjust to your surroundings!

If you have a patio or balcony, container gardening is the way to go.  If you live on a city lot and you have, let’s say, 5 feet between you and your neighbor, hanging gutters on the side of your house and planting in them is the latest thing.  Stacked and layered raised bed gardens help save room.  Rooftop gardens are becoming a new form of community gardens.  And, of course, hydroponics is certainly becoming a favorite amongst gardeners with limited space and sunlight.

Now it’s true, there are some types of plants you can’t grow in these limited spaces and under these conditions—some plants need plenty of “leg room”, and any form of container gardening may not be enough–but the reality is, you can grow many varieties of plants this way.  And in my opinion, anything is better than nothing, right?

I mean, after all, it’s called “survival gardening”, not “plentiful gardening”, or “flourishing gardening”, or “too much to possibly eat gardening”.  The whole point is to grow enough to feed you and supply you with enough nutrients if your regular food supply were cut-off for any reason.

I often encounter friends/family and readers of mine who say, “Hmph, I just don’t have the space to grow”, and I say nonsense.  Human beings are amazing at adapting and learning to work with our circumstances.  And if you really want something hard enough, you’ll find a way to make it work.  If you want to grow your own foods, then grow your own foods—it’s as simple as that!

And the time to begin is now!  No point in putting it off.  Take a look around you, establish a plan, and implement it!  No more excuses!

About the Author

Jerry Greenfield

My number one focus is growing my own food. I don’t think that really counts as a hobby.  For some people it is, but for me, growing my own fruits and vegetables and saving my own seed is the key to survival. The only person you can count on is yourself, if you ask me. The government is trying to help us all with GMOs and welfare, but it’s all a crock. I also like to build things and read Transcendentalist authors from the 1860s.

Connect with Jerry via his blog and Facebook page: Grow Like Crazy

 

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