5 Fall Things to Do to Prepare the Vegetable Garden for Spring

The fall season is a busy one.  We're all busy cleaning up the outside areas of our homes and gardens to prepare for colder days ahead.  The list of things to do this fall isn't a short one but if you can fit a few more items to your list you will save yourself some time in the spring!  Let's take a look today at a few things you can do this fall to prepare your vegetable garden for spring. 5 Fall Things To Do To Prepare the Vegetable Garden for Spring Clear out your summer garden.  Maybe you've already done this but I haven't.  We were still getting tomatoes and peppers from the garden and I didn't want to stop a good thing!   Don't put any diseased foliage or branches in the compost bin.  In the past I've burned the dead and dried tomato stems in a fire…

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Growing in the Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall vegetable gardening can certainly be interesting in Tennessee!  You never quite know how the weather is going to shape up.  Is it going to frost early?  Late?  Will the temperatures be normal or extra warm like we'll be having this week?  You just never know.  For gardening weather this October we've had a couple light frosts but nothing damaging which means our summer garden still has more to give - and we're going to happily harvest until the end.  With temperatures set to be in the 80's this week with no frost chances we have a good chance of continuing to get summer vegetables through the end of October!  Tennessee is a great place for a vegetable garden! This morning I picked a few orange bell peppers.  I didn't realize I had this many still coming.  In fact I had given up on the peppers a couple weeks ago…

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Pak Choi and Other Fall Greens

A few weeks ago I planted our fall greens from seed in the vegetable garden.  I planted a mix of kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, pak choi, and Brussels sprouts.  The seedlings are all located in one of my long 10'x3' beds made from scrape lumber. They were orginally meant to be 10'x2' like in this raised bed layout but I altered the size a little. When the days begin to stay a little cooler, without the peaks of 80 degree weather, I'll install PVC pipe for a hoop house to keep my greens growing. Otherwise the greens need little care at the moment except for occasional watering during the dry spells.  Fortunately rain has been fairly frequent compared to normal this fall.  I sowed the seeds fairly thick but I'll harvest some of the younger greens to thin out the bed. Earlier in the summer I planted a few pak choi (or…

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5 Fall Vegetables for Your Garden

Fall is creeping closer and closer each day which brings to mind cool evening breezes, pumpkins, festivals, the Fall Color Project (more on that later), and of course the fall vegetable growing season.  Most gardeners seem to garden almost exclusively in the spring or summer and don't even consider the fall.  It's probably since starting plants this time of year can be tricky.  Fall plants in Tennessee need to be planted early enough to have a couple harvests before the frosts come and often the temperatures are not conducive for easy germination of seeds.  Spinach Once started fall vegetables will do fine through the early frosts and will continue to grow (albeit a little slower) until the cold sets in for good when they go dormant.  Once spring comes back around the fall vegetables can spring back too and provide you with a delicious early harvest! 5 Fall Vegetables For…

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Starting The Fall Garden From Seed

It's time to start thinking fall garden if you haven't already!  It may seem too hot, too dry or too much like August where you are but over the next few weeks we need to get our seeds started and growing. When to Start Seeds for a Fall Vegetable Garden? The tricky thinking about starting a vegetable garden in the fall is getting the plants started from seed.  Anyone can buy transplants and get them growing at the right time but it takes a little extra effort to get them started from seed.  That being said I believe that this is something anyone can do too!  You need to know two dates:  your first frost date and the time to maturity.  When you get your seed packet look up the time to maturity or time to harvest on the packet.  Then add a few weeks to the time to allow…

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The November Vegetable Garden

It's finally time to get the chore to end all chores done: cleaning up the vegetable garden.  After a year of intermittent neglect, frustration, summer heat, and family tragedy it is definitely time to put this year's garden under wraps.  Mostly under wraps that is.  We actually have a crop of greens on the way to help feed the family and ease the budget.   Here's the view of the left side of the garden.  The blue tarp is still down to prevent the Bermuda grass from taking over completely.  The next step for this area is to remove the tarp and the raised beds then till it.  Once tilled I'll remove as many Bermuda roots as possible.  I know I'll miss a few rhizomes but drastic measures must be taken to beat back the Bermuda. On the right side of the garden I have quite a mess of strawberries. …

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The Surprise Vegetable Garden

You've seen it before I'm sure.  A surprise plant or two coming up where you would least expect it.  A bird may have moved the seed around, or maybe it was caught can carried along on the wind. But have you ever had a whole garden just appear ready to go?  I have!  Now it's not the perfect fall garden.  It doesn't have everything I would have chosen to plant but it does have several different edibles that we can definitely make use of.  So what is planted in my surprise vegetable garden?  Lettuce, arugula, and cilantro!  Arugula, lettuce, and cilantro self-sown in the lawn. The next thing you are probably wondering is how did this surprise crop appear?  A planting by aliens perhaps? Or bigfoot? Maybe Elvis?  Nope as much as I hate to disappoint those who wish to keep Elvis alive, I planted this vegetable patch without even…

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Fall Seedlings

The fall vegetable garden is coming along! It never fails to fill me with excitement when those freshly planted seeds grow into seedlings. Especially when the seedlings were planted naturally through self-sowing as is the case with my cilantro. Cilantro is one of those expensive to buy but easy to grow plants.  It likes it when the weather is cooler and always germinates easily in the fall.  The trick to getting it to self-sow is to give it room to grow then let it go to seed! (Pretty easy right?)  Cilantro gets big when in bloom so it needs the space and so might the gardener! The other little seedling to sprout this week was the 'Baby green Fortune' pak choi. It was very tasty and very heat tolerant back in the spring, now it's time to have some in the fall.  A couple plants lasted into late June.  The…

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My Vegetable Garden Video Update!

Since I bought my new toy (a Sony Handycam HDR-CX130) I've been playing around with filming my garden in different areas. I have to admit - talking to a camera by oneself while wandering around your garden is a weird sensation. I'm convinced that my neighbors already think I'm crazy and I doubt video recording my garden is going to change that! My most recent video is a short tour of my vegetable garden. Enjoy! My Vegetable Garden As of May 11, 2011

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Raised Bed on a Deck Question

A reader sent me this question asking how I would build a raised bed on a deck.  It's a very interesting question. I've never built a raised bed on a deck before but if I were planning one here's what I would do. But first the question: Dave, I want to build a raised bed garden to put on my deck and I need ideas for the design of the bottom. Should it be a solid composite board bottom with small spaces between the boards for drainage? Should the bottom be raised by an 1" or more so I don't have a constant moisture problem with the floor boards of the deck? would you line the bottom with fabric cloth and then a layer of gravel for drainage? What would prevent the roots from penetrating the bottom and creating an unsightly mess? Would appreciate your thoughts. Dale Comment from Greenland…

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