Nature is a wonderful thing. We are provided a planet where animals, plants, and people can survive every season. People often forget that there are foods we can plant in each season. Like somehow, nature knew we would get hungry year-round.
People tend to think that planting vegetables is only done in spring and just a little in autumn. If you are one of those people, let me put your mind at ease. There are many foods that can be planted right now, in September, that will thrive and give you a great harvest.
Prepare Your Garden
Get those garden tools out of the shed, and call or click here to contact your seed supplier. It is a good idea to let them know where you live so they will be able to help you choose the correct seeds.
If you had a spring garden, your preparation will not be too difficult. You will till the area and remove any left overplants, or debris from your last crop. This will also give you a good look at the condition of your ground. (If you did not, select the area you will be using and get the ground broken and tilled.)
If the color of your soil is light brown, it may need to be fertilized. You can add a layer of compost, leaves, or manure. Note: Do not use manure where you are planning to plant carrots. It will cause carrots to fork out and grow side carrots. Before you add your fertilizer, it is a good idea to buy a good pH test to test the acidity level of the ground. The pH should be between 5.5 and 6.5. However, some plants grow better in acidic soil. Don’t freak out if you get a pH reading of 7.
If your pH level is below 5, you may need to raise it a little by applying lime. Soils with a very low acidic level can cause vitamin deficient crops.
The amount of lime you use depends on the kind of soil you have and how much area you are treating. In order to raise your PH level one point you will need:
Based on 1,000 square feet of ground, if you have:
- Sandy loam soil, add 5 pounds of lime
- Medium loam soil, add 7 pounds of lime
- Heavy clay soil, add 8 pounds of lime
Check your pH acid level after 4 weeks. Do not be surprised if the pH level changes very slowly.
4 Favorite Veggies to Plant This Time of Year
Plant your carrot seeds 3-5 weeks before the last spring frost. For additional crops, plant more seeds about ever 3 weeks. Plant them 3-4 inches apart in rows. They do well in full sunshine but some shade will not hurt them. When you are tilling, till deep. Carrots need loose soil to push through. Your harvest will be ready in about 2-4 months. You can pull the carrots when they are about ½” around, or you can let them fatten up a bit more.
Caring for Your Carrot Crop
- Once per week, water your carrots with about one inch of water.
- Gently mulch to speed the germination process and keep the roots from drying out.
- It is important that you weed actively.
- 5-6 weeks after planting, add a balanced fertilizer.
- If you want your crop to continue to grow, you can add new seed every 3 weeks.
Depending on the variety of carrot you planted, your crop should be ready in 2-4 months. When you harvest them, twist off the tops and clean them well. Place the carrots in an air-tight plastic bag, in the refrigerator. If you simply place them in the fridge, they will go limp in a matter of a few hours.
Kale is part of the cabbage family and thrives well when planted in warmer temperatures. Still, cold weather does not hurt it. Kale is great in salads and as a garnish. It is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. Kale is great because it gives you fresh greens all winter. Kale is considered a “superfood.”
Plant in full sun (but do not worry about frosts).
Plant anytime and any season up until the ground freezes in the winter.
Mix 1 ½ cups of fertilizer for every 25 feet of the row you plan to use. Work the fertilizer into the top 3-4 inches of soil. The soil should be light and tilled well. Plant your seeds ¼” to ½” deep.
In about 2 weeks you will start seeing the seedlings begin to come up. Thin them out until your plants are 8” to 12” apart.
Caring for the Plants
Water the plants regularly, but be careful not to overwater them.
After the first hard frost, cover the seedlings well with mulch.
Kale has a sweeter taste when it has been through a few frosts.
Your cut-off point is 20°F. This is the end of the cycle.
If you wish to extend your crop, use row covers or tarps when the temperatures drop that low.
At the top center of the plant, you will see the terminal bud. Do not pick this. This will continue to produce the leaves which are the part of the plant that you eat. Pull the leaves when they are about the size of your hand. Smaller leaves can be picked and eaten raw in a salad. The mature leaves are cooked on the stove just like you would cook spinach. When you cut the full-size leaves before cooking remove the tough ribs.
Kale is a bit crunchy. If you do not enjoy the texture, massage the leaves to make them tender before cooking.
Only pick about a handful at a time and store it in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
No self-respecting garden would produce kale without producing spinach. These two foods just naturally go together. They can be eaten raw, cooked, mixed in other recipes. You would be hard pressed to find another combination of foods that are as nutritional as these two.
The only time of year that is not good for planting spinach is mid-August. The extreme heat tends to affect the plants, but cold does not hurt it at all.
About 2 weeks before you plan to plant, cover the planting area with aged manure. Plant in full sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil.
Plant seeds ½ inch to 1 inch deep with about 12 seeds per foot of row. As the seedlings begin to come up, you will thin them out so that they are 3” to 4” apart. Keep the soil moist by watering often and mulching to hold the moisture in.
It takes about 6 weeks of cool weather to get from seed to harvest. If you want to keep your crop growing, add more see about every 3 weeks. Don’t worry about the old. Spinach can handle temperatures down to 15°F with no problem.
Pick the leaves when they are about the size of the palm of your hand. If they get too large, they will get bitter. Pick small leaves for raw salads and garnishing for other meal.
Broccoli is a multi-season crop. It is one plant from the cabbage family that is easy to grow and tolerates the cool just fine.
Broccoli can germinate in soil with temperatures as low as 40°F.
Plant in full sun. The soil should be moist and slightly acidic. A week or two before you plant work in 2” to 4” of compost. Plant your crop 85 – 90 days before the first frost. Plant your seed ½” deep and from 12” – 24” apart. Keep your rows about 36” apart.
Keep your plants watered, but when the seedlings come up do not water the developing heads. A layer of mulch will keep weeds from becoming a problem.
When the heads are full and tight (before they bloom out on their own) it’s time to harvest. If you see any yellow leaves, go ahead and harvest at that time. Cut the stalk 5” to 8” below the head. Many times the stalk will bloom again, so don’t forget about it.
Other favorite veggies that can be planted now and into the cool weather:
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Green onions
There are plenty of fresh and tasty veggies you can plant now and enjoy a homegrown diet all year. So, now is the time to get started. Enjoy your bounty all season long.
This article was written by guest author Wendy Dessler, outreach manager at The Blog Frog. Wendy is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.
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