Prepping for Fall in the Garden
For the past several weeks, my basil plants have been trying to flower, and I have kept pruning them back to extend their flavor and longevity. Now, I'm starting to let several plants have their way knowing that I want to make sure there are seeds to harvest before the first frost comes. My spring lettuce, which was all too bitter for consumption, has now
begun dropping seed heads, and I'm hurrying to create some open spaces
for the seeds to take root. While the garden really doesn't need watering with the wet summer we've had, lettuce seeds require a moist soil surface to take root and not be choked off by the end of summer heat.
While there is still a stretch of heat to come down in the south, it's not too early to be thinking of the fall garden. Now is the time to plant greens, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, beets and maybe one last batch of cucumbers. Last summer, I also planted a fall crop of carrots, and thanks to a mild winter, I had the sweetest batch ready in early spring. It will soon be time to start planting onions sets and cloves of garlic as well.
This is also the time when cherry tomato plants started mid-season start giving me pans of produce for roasting and drying, and the peppers that couldn't decide if they were going to produce start gracing us with their heat.
While I want to get excited about Fall gardening, I have a major battle ahead with a weed that's taken over my garden: bitter chamber or mimosa weed. It will die off over winter, but it drops hundreds of seeds and returns in the spring with a vengeance. I'm contemplating just putting down a thick layer of wood chips (a free load is supposed to arrive this week) and forgoing planting until spring.
Are you planting a fall garden? What crops work well in your zone? I think fall gardening can be so much more enjoyable than summer gardening.