Many people think of spring and summer as the big gardening seasons and forget that autumn can be just as abundant in other ways. Just because fall gardening comes with its own unique set of challenges, just think about how wonderful it’ll be to have crisp, homegrown produce in your kitchen for a few more months.
One of the best things about growing your own garden at any time of year is knowing exactly where your food comes from and what went into its growing process. In short, this is a surefire way to avoid GMOs and chemical pesticides in your healthy diet.
So to extend your growing season just a little bit longer, here are a few gardening tips for fall that don’t involve toxic chemicals.
1. Choose Crops Well-Suited for Fall
Don’t fight Mother Nature, embrace her. Planting spring and summer crops in the fall is setting your garden up to fail. These are some of the hardy crops that are best-suited for this season:
But of course, what you plant largely depends on where you live. For example, if you live in the South or somewhere else that enjoys mild winters, you may be able to continue growing tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and potatoes throughout the fall.
2. Time Planting for Late Summer
If you want a bountiful fall garden, the best time to start planting is late summer, in August and September. Take a look at a seed catalog or the back of your seed packet to check the number of days to maturity.
Remember that days start getting shorter in the fall, and this can delay your plants rate of maturity. It’s a smart idea to add a week or two to your maturity time when planting at this time of year.
3. Consider Potting Indoors and Transplanting
When you plant seeds for fall plants in the late summer, the soil temperature may be too high for the seeds to germinate. To counteract this, consider starting your seeds for fall vegetables in indoor pots. Then transplant them outdoors a few weeks later when the temperatures cool off.
4. Use Organic Fish Fertilizer Concentrate
Instead of using chemically-laced fertilizers to help your plants grow, try our Fish Fertilizer Concentrate that’s derived from whole anchovies and sardines caught along the shores of Baja California. This is a long-lasting indoor/outdoor fertilizer that can be applied to flowers, trees, and vegetables, and it lasts up to 4 to 5 months between applications.
For new fall plantings, add one teaspoon into the hole you’ve excavated for the new plant. Then place the root ball on top of the fertilizer and cover with soil. We use this fertilizer on our own carrots and broccoli, for example, which are both great fall vegetables to grow in many parts of the country.
5. Keep Up with Chemical-Free Weed Control
Weeds are the enemy in the garden, but that doesn’t mean that you should douse them with chemicals to fight them. Not only do chemical weed control compounds leach into fruits and vegetables that you’ll be eating later, but they also soak into the ground and trickle into groundwater. Here are a few tips for keeping your fall garden weed-free without chemicals:
- Loosen and turn over the soil
- Hoe the topsoil
- Mulch garden beds
- Cover the garden with plastic sheets
- Pull weeds to prevent spreading
- Use biological controls, like animals and insects
- Try vinegar and organic herbicides