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Grow a Successful Fall Garden

In the southern region, we can grow three seasons of crops, but there are some some things you need to know if you want to grow a successful fall garden.

Fall Crops

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and carrots are family-friendly veggies that can be started in August and September for the fall season. If you want late season herbs, parsley, basil, and cilantro still have time to grow for a nice late season harvest.

Starting Seeds

While most seeds can be started inside under grow lights, adjusting seedlings from indoors to the sometimes hot and harsh conditions outside can be a challenge. Seedlings moved from indoors to outdoors require weathering -- a time of adjustment for a few weeks while slowly getting them accustomed to being outside. I prefer to direct sow fall crops as often as possible because I don't have to deal with weathering.

The key to germinating seeds outdoors during this heat is getting the soil temperature down. Bare soil sitting in the summer sun may be too hot for seed germination, so if you’re looking to sprout anything you need two things:
  • Water: When I am waiting for seeds to sprout and encouraging wee little seedlings to grow I water every day. As they get older, their roots will grow deeper and watering can become less frequent. A drip irrigation system is a convenient and economical way to keep young seedlings watered. Whatever your method of watering, be sure not to use a spray forceful enough to damage young seedlings. Watering wands offer a convenient way to water anything.
  • Mulch: I plant my seeds, then cover them with a thin layer of mulch 2-3 inches thick. Each day I check for sprout growth. Once the seeds sprout, I move the mulch out of the way to make sure they can get some sun, making sure the surrounding soil is still covered. Light, loose mulch such as straw or pine needles are the best options for mulching while spouting. Composted sawdust or shredded newspaper will likely be too dense for the seedlings to make it through.
Growing a successful fall garden starts with proper soil care and plenty of water for young seedlings. Get your fall garden off to a good start for fresh harvests through the first hard freeze!


What fall crop would you like to grow this year?

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