Select varieties carefully.
The best spring varieties are not always the best fall varieties. Spring varieties germinate in cool, moist conditions and mature as the days grow drier, warmer and longer. Fall varieties have just the
opposite growing conditions: long, dry days at first and short, cool, moist days as they mature. Check out the UT Extension Publication on Fall Gardening for a list of recommended varieties here: SP291-G.
Here is how to figure out when to plant what:
- Begin with the average date of the first frost. For us that's about October 15.
- For plants that can NOT handle any frost, subtract two weeks from the frost date = October 1.
For plants that CAN handle a light frost, you can push the dates out a bit and add 2 weeks = October 30.
3. Now look at your seed packet or catalog
description to find the estimated days from
planting to maturity.
4 Add about 10 days to the maturity days because
of the cooler, shorter days in the fall. So, if your
seed pack says 50 days, make it a total of 60 days.
5. Then, subtract the total number of days required
for the vegetable to mature from the date when
you want to start harvest. For example:
Subtracting 60 days from October 1 gives us
August 1 as your latest plant date.
Maintain moisture during germination.
Vegetable seed will not germinate without moisture. For Fall Gardening, high temperatures and sparse rainfall can make conditions for seed germination even a bit more difficult. So, water the soil well before planting fall vegetables and plant the seeds 1/4 inch deeper than you would planting spring vegetables to help reduce chances of the seed drying out.
Fall Garden Care.
Fall gardens require more attention than spring gardens: More insects, more diseases, more weeds, less rain. Don't let this keep you from giving it a try! Just keep a close eye on your Fall garden: Control the problems while they are small and apply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water weekly when it does not rain.
For more Fall Gardening information, come to see us at the FREE Fall Gardening Workshop at the Farmers Market (August 3rd, 9:30 am), visit our UT Extension Office, or Ask a Master Gardener.
Happy Fall Gardening!
Blog by: Sabine Ehlers, CMG