Fall Garden Tips

Fall has certainly started falling around here. We’re in the midst of raking up acorns, pinecones, pine needles and lots of leaves. And today the rains came tumbling down.

So it may be a little late in the season for the garden tips that I want to share with you. However, the weather forecasters say we will have some sunny days next week. So we’re planning to use those days to finish up the garden work that will help us have a great spring garden.

Recently we took up gardening class and were so delighted at what we learned. Here are some great tips:

1. First make a diagram of your garden. Then record which plants grew in each area of your garden this year. That way you can rotate your crops in the spring. Believe me you won’t remember for sure which plants you planted where by the time spring comes around. On a new diagram of your garden pencil in where you want to plant various crops next year. You will find out why in number three.

2. Be sure to pull up all the plants left in your garden that are not perennials. If you leave them in the garden they will turn moldy.  That’s just asking for a disease process to get set up in your soil that will affect your spring plants. You can compost any of the plants you pull up except the nightshade family plants. Burn tomato, potato, Petunia, and pepper plants to avoid disease processes like scab in your garden.

3. Now is the time to add certain soil amendments so they have time to break down to a form that your plants can assimilate in the spring.

These include soft rock phosphate which helps to promote good root growth and increased disease-resistance. It will also help increase fruit in the formation. Use 5 pounds per 100 square feet.

You will also want to add calcium to the soil which generally comes in the form of lime. Calcium helps your plant take up other minerals and can double the yield of fruits or vegetables. One precaution though, don’t add lime to any area in your garden where you plan to plant garlic or onions. Apparently calcium may make your onions more prone to onion root maggots. For all other areas use 10 pounds per 100 square feet.

Glacier dust adds minerals to your soil. Use 5 pounds per100  hundred square feet.

Now till all be supplements into your soil, water your beds and wait two weeks before planting a cover crop. The action of the minerals in the soil make the soil too hot for tender new sprouts. You don’t want to burn them up.

A good cover crop binds nitrogen from the air and transfers it to your soil. Last year we used red clover in some areas and vetch in other areas as our cover crops. They both worked well. This year we’re using an organic soil building mix that includes a grain, fava bean and vetch. However, I’m having a terrible time with the quail. They keep getting in the garden, scratching up all the seeds and I’m sure they’re eating them. Anyone have any remedies for keeping quail out of the garden?

It’s probably getting a little late to plant a cover crop in our area but I’m still going to try anyway. If the seeds don’t germinate this fall, perhaps they will germinate early enough in the spring to do some good.

In the spring run a mulching lawnmower over your cover crops and then till them into the soil. Last spring that’s exactly what we did. But I still think we needed to add some good well rotted manure and/or more compost to our beds because our plants did not grow and produce quite as well as they have in the past when we’ve added more compost or well rotted manure.

Also, the plants just did not grow well at all in one of our beds. I tested the soil and was pretty sure that it needed more phosphorus and nitrogen. So I sprinkled some around the plants but that did not help enough. Now I know that adding the phosphorus and calcium in the fall makes those nutrients much more available to the plants in the spring and summer. So that bed is going to get a good dose this year.

If you’re unable to plant a cover crop, then cover your soil with alfalfa hay or lots of good leaves to keep your soil from eroding with the wind and rain. Over the winter the hay or leaves will start to break down and feed your soil. Earth worms love those nutrients too and will break them down even faster for you.

Even if you’re not planning to have a winter garden now is the time to plant your garlic.

Isn’t it great when you get your garden all put to bed for the winter? Even though we love gardening I also enjoy having a little more time to devote to other things over the winter. But I sure will miss my fresh vegetables and raspberries that have produced so abundantly this fall.

Have fun with all the fall colors and even have fun raking up all those leaves. There’s something so refreshing about breathing in the clean air after the rain and raking leaves is a good excuse for enjoying the great outdoors.


Dr. Jo

About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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