Bountiful Fall Gardening

By Crystal Stevens

Gardening is something that is typically associated with spring and summer but fall gardening can be very bountiful, especially if you enjoy a myriad of fresh greens and roots. It’s not too late to plant a fall garden. If you have a large garden space that gets plenty of sun, prepare your space with a pitch fork. Loosen the soil and remove the weeds and grass. The ground should be slightly dry. Use a broad fork or a potato fork to turn the top layer of soil over and gently break it up. Your goal should be a fine tilth soil. Be sure to add plenty of compost, bags of leaves, and grass clippings. These soil additions will feed your plants and give nutrients to the soil.

You can easily create raised beds with straw bales, cinder blocks, and untreated scrap wood, or heat-treated pallets. In a raised bed, additions of any of the following layers would be helpful for creating good living soil and provides organic pathways for roots: leaves, followed by straw, grass clippings and more leaves, and compost. Next, add half compost and half topsoil. Finally, your top layer should be well-decomposed compost mixed with topsoil. You want your top layer to have a fine tilth so that it is easy to sow seeds and transplant.

Plant the following from seed directly into the ground: spinach, carrots, peas, chard, kale, salad mix, lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips, dill and cilantro. Follow the seed packet directions for spacing, water and light requirements.

Herb transplants, Sun-flowers and edible flowers also make a nice addition to the fall garden.

Crystal Stevens is a regular contributor to The Healthy Planet magazine and farmer at LaVistaCSA.org.