WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: It's time for planting your fall garden

Posted August 12, 2010

Now that you are enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your summer garden labor, it's actually time to start thinking about your fall garden. If you didn't grow a garden this summer, now is your chance to enjoy some homegrown produce before winter arrives.

We have not grown a formal fall garden in the past few years. We usually plant some gourd or pumpkin seeds and see what happens. Last year we were overrun by gourds, which was actually quite fun. Once they dried, the kids painted them and we hung them around the yard.  In the picture you can see the volunteer gourd plant that came up from seeds left last year. It has grown quite a bit since the picture was taken July 1. We actually have a gourd on the vine now.

This year, we are taking a more planned approach to fall planting. I am planning to grow spinach, pumpkins and lettuce this year. I have some extra cucumber seeds from this spring so I think I will  plant them as well.  We are doing a combination of container planting and ground planting.  I had good success growing spinach in containers this spring so I am going to do it again.

NC State's Horticultural Science Department offers some very helpful information on planting a fall garden.  The link to the article is in the box above. The author, Erv Evans, covers important topics such as preparing the site, planting the garden, watering and fertilizing, insects and diseases and frost protection. There is also a handy fall planting guide with details on what to plant, when and how to plant it and how long before you are enjoying your produce.

So now I challenge you to plant at least one fall "crop", even if that crop is a single lettuce bunch in a container. I'll keep you updated on my fall garden and hope to show you pictures of lots of delicious spinach dishes made with homegrown produce.

Anyone out there growing a fall garden? If so, what are you growing. If you have any tips to fall gardening success, please share them!


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  • wralfan1 Aug 13, 2010

    Can you grow Passion fruit in NC? does anybody has any success? It says it is a perennial!!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 13, 2010

    Thanks petalpusher!

  • NCpetalpusher Aug 13, 2010

    I work for Steve's Plants at the Raleigh Farmer's Market. We'll be bringing in our Fall Veggie plants by the end of next week. We have several varieties of collards, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard and mustard greens. We currently have cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and LA Peter Peppers (some peppers are ready to pick). We also have flowers that attract bees that can help with your garden. Stop by the market and let us help you with Fall plantings.

  • javajoe Aug 12, 2010

    I'll let you know how "nice" it turns out, lol. Last year was my first year with pumpkins. This will be my first try with beets, carrots, radishes, broccoli, collards, cabbage, and garden peas.

    I also saved a poinsettia plant from last Christmas to see if I can make it re-bloom and save money. So far, it's more than twice as big as it was last year! Just hope I can trick it into blooming.

  • t0tAlChA0s Aug 12, 2010

    javajoe, sounds like a really nice garden...and where do you live...? lol nah just kidding.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 12, 2010

    Your pumpkins are beautiful! Thanks for sharing the picture, javajoe. Your fall garden sounds fabulous. Once year we had tomatoes on Thanksgiving from our fall garden! Obviously we had no early frost that year.

  • javajoe Aug 12, 2010

    I had some volunteer pumpkin seeds crop up in April, so now I've got 6-7 orange pumpkins sitting in the closet in storage until I can put them outside for fall. I planted more pumpkin seeds in mid-June, so they should be ready by the end of September. Depending on what type of pumpkins you want to grow, it may be too late to grow them in time for first frost. Be sure to check the number of days for your variety. Last year, I seeded some the last week of June and had to pick them green in the middle of October because of the first chance of frost. They were barely ready for Halloween, but they still turned orange in time for Thanksgiving -- pumpkin pie!

    This fall, I've planted bush beans, garden peas, beets, collards, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes & bell peppers (started the seeds late), carrots, radishes, and turnips.

    Here are the pumpkins I picked a month ago:

  • bronzegoddess40 Aug 12, 2010

    I am very excited about starting a container garden and enjoying!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Aug 12, 2010

    Thanks for the tips, boomer! I know what you mean about that clay in Clayton! We had to seriously amend our soil to get it to the point of resembling garden-ready soil. Thankfully my husband is a geologist and he's really good with earth/soil/ph related stuff! :-)

  • boomer3145 Aug 12, 2010

    You can grow cukes, squash, leafy items, beets, carrots and other cool weather crops typically grown in the spring. Remember they take about 60 days to maturity & our frost is usually around Halloween. If you cover them overnight against the frost, they will easily have time to ripen. They may not be as plentiful as the spring crops but will still produce. They will also need the bees to pollinate the flowers (squash & cukes)so plant now. Parsley & dill also. All will start slow due to the heat so keep them watered. Faye, as for the clay-we are in Clayton (didn't realize the meaning until we tried to garden) and use raised beds & container.s Good luck to all. Get your seeds before they are sold out. Martha Stewart's sight always gives good gardening tips