2016-09-23 / Community

Home and Garden

Reap garden rewards even in fall

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can help people relax and produce an enviable landscape. Many gardeners even find their meals are more fresh and flavorful when using items they grew themselves. While many gardeners do the bulk of their gardening in the spring and summer, certain plants thrive in cooler temperatures. That group includes autumn vegetables that are ripe for the picking when leaves begin falling.

Fall gardens provide a reason to enjoy the oftenjoyable autumn air. So many different vegetables come to life in the autumn, and they can make wonderful additions to the dinner table. Broccoli, kale, collards, spinach, squashes, artichokes, and beets are just some of the many autumn planting options you can try. Celery also is best in the fall, and its harvest continues through winter in temperate climates. By replacing crops that have been harvested through the spring and summer with fall-friendly alternatives, you can keep your garden productive for most of the year. Begin the process by counting back 12 to 14 weeks from the expected first frost date for where you live. Begin seeds for your autumn plantings indoors, because summer heat and dryness are not the best conditions to nurture young seedlings.

Enrich the soil with compost so that you can replenish the nutrients lost from the last crop harvested.

Each region is different, so learn about when to put plants in the ground for your region. Many plants still need the sun and warmth of late summer to thrive and produce well into the fall. If you are unsure, consult with a local garden center, where you can learn about various aspects of autumn gardening. Onions, shallots and garlic are best planted mid-fall after the soil has cooled.

Gradually introduce seedlings to more sunlight and outdoor temperatures before they go in the ground, as they need time to adjust to the unfiltered sun. Be sure to thoroughly water the garden. Newly planted beds should be kept moist to germinate and so established plants can take root. In addition, consider a shade covering so that the soil doesn’t dry out or get baked in the sun. Mulch also can help retain moisture and keep the conditions ideal for your autumn vegetables to grow.

Remember that moisture and cooler temperatures can attract garden pests, so you may need to employ some strategies to keep them under control. For example, insect barriers and all-natural baited traps can keep slugs and snails from munching on your autumn plants.

Fall vegetable gardens can be worthy endeavors, yielding plenty of crops and providing the fun and fulfillment of gardening into the fall.

Did You Know?

Home improvement projects can inadvertently expose homeowners to hidden dangers. For example, lead paint may be lurking underneath layers of existing paint in older homes. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. It is essential that homeowners control their exposure to lead or other hazardous substances through the use of protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator. If lead is discovered, it may require professional containment and cleanup. Contact your local health authority if you discover or suspect you have discovered lead paint or other hazardous materials in your home.

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