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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

What You Need to Know to Start a Fall Garden

• Organic Prepper - Amy Allen

In these days of shortages and uncertainty, it's wise to get as much as we can from our gardens. Every season has its benefits and limitations, and proper planning can increase yields exponentially. Knowing a few facts, such as what's frost tolerant vs. frost sensitive, how long a given vegetable takes to mature, your planting zone, and frost & freeze dates, are all valuable pieces of the garden planning puzzle. In this article, I'll discuss what can be done in the fall garden.

When do you plant a fall garden?

If you're in one of the colder, shorter season areas as I am, the fall garden begins around mid-August and ends at the first hard freeze. In zone 5 and north, light frosts begin in September. The hard freeze, defined as temperatures in the 20s, comes around October 10 or even earlier further north. Gardens are done at that point, so your fall garden has to be harvested before then.

Bulbs such as garlic, onion, and any flowers must be planted 2-3 weeks before, so they've established enough growth to be ready for overwintering. I also made a wine cap mushroom bed from the remains of my container colony. As with alliums, planting 2-3 weeks before the freeze allows the mycelia to colonize and establish for overwintering. Winter sowing can be done in Fall as well. Check out this link for a quick winter sowing guide.

It's possible to use season extenders, such as cold frames and coverings, to protect plants as nighttime temperatures fall into the 30s-40s F.

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