Preparing a Vegetable Garden for Planting in Fall
By Heather Roberts
While it is true that summer is usually considered peak vegetable gardening season, fall as well presents nice opportunities for growing. The weather is mild, insect threats are almost non-existent and the soil reaches a state which many expert gardeners like for the fact it's moist and well-draining at the same time.
Infrequent rain and extreme heat in the summer are present in zones that are very good for fall gardening. Certain plants can continue to grow in winter, as the rainy season advances. All that you have to do is pick plants that have short days to maturity and get started on your fall vegetable garden. Here is what you have to consider to make it work:
Some garden clearance is required - if you have used the garden space to grow in the summer, chances are that the place is already cleared, but you might still need some touching up here and there. You will have to clear all of the weeds you have missed in previous efforts, as well as get rid of spent plants. Everything that has outlived its usefulness should be removed in order to prevent the risk of attracting pests and spreading disease. If there is a lot of fallen fruit, you have to take care of it too.
Introduce new mulch - in order to freshen up the soil, you have to move the existing mulch to the side. If its condition allows it, you may as well use it again, but you will most likely want to add more due to decomposing. Shredded leaves make a great choice for mulch in the fall, since they are plenty and rich in nutrients. Make sure they are wet, or else they might get blown away.
Loosen the soil - a compacted soil is no good for planting. If summer gardening has gotten your soil to such condition, you will do well to fluff it up a bit with a garden fork. Major tilling is hardly required, but merely enough to ensure that plant roots to move.
Improve the soil - garden care in the fall also includes enriching soil in nutrients. In case you have spare compost, you should introduce it now. Work it in as you loosen the soil or top dress with it. Just be sure you add compost after your garden layout to be precise about the location of the compost and not spread it on the paths. The further addition of a general purpose fertilizer will also do good.
Protection From Cold
Install protection from cold - if you want to ensure your plants are well protected from frost, you should install the structures now. That way you know you can rely on them at any given moment in the future and you will have peace of mind that your plants will be fine.
Doing all of this is not that demanding in terms of time and effort. Go through each of these steps and you will be ready for a fall gardening season.
Heather Roberts is a freelance guest blogger from London, UK. She has many published articles on various topics such as gardening, landscaping and home maintenance etc. She loves to spend her time with family and friends and she also tries to live an eco-friendly life.