Start Your Fall Garden Now

By Elizabeth Smith

Right now is the perfect time to do some planting for your fall garden. We should see mild and cool weather conditions starting in mid to late September so that means we can plant all kinds of things now that simply won’t grow in summer’s heat. The warm days will enable seeds to sprout quickly and the cooling nights will keep them happy as they grow. Swiss chard, lettuce, kale, spinach, Asian greens, carrots, green onions, radishes, beets and turnips started in the ground now will do great all winter long provided we don’t get a hard freeze. Consider herbs too: cilantro, dill, chives, oregano, parsley and thyme. Get a head start on colder weather veggies by starting seeds indoors for broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and collard greens. These will go in the ground next month.

Also plan to dig in some nitrogen rich compost to your garden beds before you plant. Adding fish bone meal for phosphorus and calcium, and rock dust for minerals will round out your amendments nicely. Mulching with wood chips is the last thing you need to make your garden exceptional because it will hold in moisture, keep weeds at bay and slowly add nitrogen to the soil as it decomposes. Remember: “Feed your soil not your plants.” If your soil is lacking, your plants will never be at their optimum health, but if your soil is healthy, your plants will be outstanding!

To see what others are growing, mark your calendar for our 4th annual Rita Ranch Garden Tour on Saturday, October 29th from 10 am- 3 pm (see The Vail Voice Online Calendar for details). For more information on all of our fun gardening events, go to,, email or call 520-591-2255.

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