Starting Now for a Fall Garden: The Basics
I'm still new to gardening and my return to the dirt hasn't been without its bumps. I've had bugs eating up my leaves. I've over-watered, I've under-watered, and I've stunted growth. And just when I think I've gotten into the flow of things, God throws me a curve ball. Today, the wind broke 2 of my largest tomato plants and I found out I was over-watering my zucchini and cucumber and the roots weren't growing deep. The beauty is that there's a learning curve to gardening. You'll win some and you'll lose some. You adjust your methods, you make corrections, and you roll with the punches. So I'm actually excited about planning my fall garden, because I actually get to implement some of the things I've learned and maybe (just maybe) I'll learn from some of the mistakes I made just a few months, days and hours ago. If you're new to gardening and want a good, slightly less hot time to start, then join me on my journey. Consider prepping for a fall garden.
PLANT WITH A GOAL IN MIND
In order to have an effective fall garden, you first need to know what you want to get out of gardening. For the purpose of my blog and my area of 'expertise', I'll be talking about veggies and herbs, but there are definitely other types of gardens. You might decide you want to start a flower garden. You might want fruit in your garden and that's perfectly fine. Set your goal. For my first garden, my goal was to just see what I could get to grow (note: I'm still waiting for my first harvest, but I am optimistic). If you're planting veggies, maybe you to want to harvest enough tomatoes to make your own sauce, or grow enough green beans to freeze some for your family dinners. Whatever your goal is, set it and work like crazy to make it happen.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN PLANT
What's the point of gardening if you're planting things that you or your family don't eat? Grab yourself a piece of paper and write down all the veggies and herbs that your family eats. For my garden, I try to plant things that are not only simple to prepare, like black-eyed peas, but that are also in short supply at my local grocery store, like zucchini and eggplant. We love veggies, but don't get to eat them as often as we would like. And we like the idea of taking calculated risks in our garden so that we can try new things and incorporate new recipes. Take your list and see which things grow in the fall in your area. Remember, the internet is your friend. When searching online, search specifically for your city and state, as that will make a difference in what you can plant and when you can start your garden.
KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO PLANT YOUR GARDEN
I knew going into my garden adventure that I did not want to plant in ground. We have an old plating plant not far from us and although it's been shut down for years, there are still risks of chemicals leaching into our soil and ground water. So everything edible that I'm planting is in raised beds and containers. And I'm having to be creative, but that's part of the fun of gardening-creating the most with whatever space you have. Do you have a balcony to plant your garden? Or a huge backyard? Are you planting in ground? Or will you need to bring dirt in for raised beds? Plan out where you're starting your garden, how many spaces you will have to plant things in and what you're using to plant in. And don't worry about whether your plants will grow. There are so many different types of seeds for veggies that will fit in whatever space you need.
NARROW DOWN YOUR LIST
Now that you have a gardening goal, know what you're going to plant and where you're going to plant it, stop and narrow down your list. When I first started gardening, I had all these lofty goals of what I was going to plant and no concept of space or needs. And it stressed me out. Gardening is supposed to not only be beneficial, but it should have an element of peace to it. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Also, only tackle what you can sustain. If you work during the day and have to leave your garden, don't create such a big garden that you can't tend to it properly. Only grow what you can maintain.
Now that you have the foundation to start your own garden, you just have to get out there and start! Do you still have questions, or just need a little support as you grow your green thumb? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us along on Instagram for videos on our garden shenanigans. We're not perfect, but we're completely willing to share what we've learned with you.
Until the next time,