WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

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

Posted August 12, 2010 12:12 a.m. EDT

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!