Thursday, August 13, 2015

Garden Tip Thursday- Starting Seeds for Fall Plantings

So you've got your area worked up and have add some nutrients back to the soil. While we are waiting for that to work in, we can go ahead and get some seeds started for that Fall Garden.

It sounds counter to what you would think but your best bet is to start your fall seeds indoors. In most climates it's just been too hot for seeds to germinate properly outdoors. I've fallen into the trap of thinking that the warm weather would act as a green house and get them moving faster but in all actuality it's just too hot for them.

What should you start from seeds?
 Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Collards, Mustard,  Swiss Chard, and  Spinach.
Don't forget to try something new too, like Kohlrabi, Rutabaga and Bok Choi.

Depending on your Zone, You will want to start your seeds about 12 weeks before your first frost. Not that those come with a handy schedule but you can check the Farmer's Almanac for an estimated date. For us here in North Carolina that would be August. Some areas will get a longer season and northern climates you are closing in on times to get your cabbage plants out. Other greens will still fair well if started now in the colder climates. But with the weather we have had this year, we might have a bit longer than we think!

Make sure to use a good starting soil, plenty of water and once the sprouts are up use a good organic liquid fertilizer that has been diluted a bit. If you have a protected patio or porch those are both great places to keep your seedlings until they are ready to go out. A couple of weeks in you should have seedlings with true leaves coming out. Be sure to place them in a protected area where they can get a small amount of breeze to help stiffen up the stalks, if you don't have a place safe from birds, direct sun or in our case Chickens, leave them inside and use an oscillating fan for a bit each day.

About three weeks in the plants should be ready to place out in the garden. Plant in the afternoon or on a cloudy day so the seedlings have a bit of time to adjust.

For your rows, fall planting is a bit different that spring. Since the  soil is already warm you'll want to make your rows a bit taller than normal. While the soil is warm now, we will start seeing shorter days and cooler nights soon. Taller hills have more area to warm during the day and this helps for those cooler nights. Also plant a bit deeper than you normally would, the top layers don't have as much moisture available this time of year. Make sure you water your transplants well, less frequent but deeper watering is better than quick watering every day. Mulch is as important now as it was in spring plantings, it will still help keep the moisture in the soil, weeds down but it will help to also keep the heat in around the roots so they can continue to flourish during those cooler/cold nights.

Enjoy getting your Fall crops started and check back next week we'll be talking about what can be directed sewn into your fall gardens!