Preparing for a Fall Garden



I don’t know about you, but I have had the worst garden year ever! Here in NW Louisiana, we have had rain since late March. When it was time to plant the garden, it was pouring down rain. If the sun came out for a few days, one step into the garden and you would sink to well above the ankles. Just about the time you thought it would be dry enough, more rain came pouring down.


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I finally was able to plant in early June. By the time I managed to get everything in the ground, the rain decided to send another round. The plants did manage to grow, but so did the weeds. When I tried to remove them, I either sunk in the mud or pulled up baby plants.


Now, as I stand staring at my garden, I see some great tomato plants – but they are all green leaves and stems, but no blooms. I did manage to harvest a few cucumbers, but even they are now choked out. It is time to throw up my hands at any decent summer harvesting.


But never underestimate the determination of a Farm Wife. I may not have a great summer garden, but I can still prepare for a fall garden. So, I am looking at what will do well from September into November, and very possibly through the winter. According to The Farmers’ Almanac, our first potential frost date for 2019 will be November 1st. So that gives me a minimum of 12 weeks to work with.



The Farm Wife - Book




My first step will be using Joy On this Mom Journey’s printable Garden Planning guide. Her 30-page guide covers everything – from what to plant; how much to plant; succession planting; and even year-round gardening tasks. An excellent guide to help you have the best garden every year!



Want to know what grows well in a fall garden?


(photos courtesty of Mary’s Heirloom Seeds)





• Beets – can be direct sown into the garden. It takes from 45 – 65 days to harvest, so there is plenty of time to plant them. Using succession planting, I can harvest at least two crops, if not more.





• Cabbage – We have successfully grown cabbage in our past fall gardens. It is so delicious when it is fresh! Cabbage takes 80 to 100 days to mature, and also loves cooler weather.





• Carrots – you definitely want to direct sow your carrots. It takes approximately 70 to 80 days to mature. But they are a cool weather crop, so they do well here in Zone 8. It is also a good plant for succession planting, so you can have fresh carrots for a longer period of time. You may also want to consider planting a rainbow of carrots – orange, purple, white and red!





• Lettuce – There is nothing better than a fresh salad, and to know you grew it yourself makes it taste even better. Lettuce is a fast growing plant and loves cooler weather – but not frost. It takes 45-50 days to mature from seed, so it is well worth planting several varieties, and incorporating succession planting.


Try an assortment of lettuce for a colorful salad – like Henderson Black-seeded Simpson (Green), Merveille Des Quatre Saisons (red and green) and Speckled Lettuce (green with red polka dots). Now that would be a fun salad!





• Peas – Although not as productive as a spring crop, you can still harvest a few for a meal or two in the fall. Or you can harvest them and freeze until you are ready to add them to a warm winter meal of Vegetable Beef Stew. Peas take approximately 4 to 5 weeks to mature.





• Spinach – This green does NOT like warm weather! It is best to plant it in soil that has begun to cool down. It takes 4 to 5 weeks from seed to harvest, but don’t be afraid to harvest some of the baby leaves. They are tender and delicious, and perfect for a salad.





• Garlic – Get ready: Garlic takes about nine months to mature! However, it is perfect for a fall garden. Garlic needs at least 40 days of 40 degree and below weather in order to form a bulb. In order to achieve the best results, refrigerate your garlic before you plant.





• Onions – Those sweet green onions that you get in the grocery store can be ready in your garden in 20 to 30 days. We often refer to them as ‘bunching’ onions. But the yellow, white and red ones (considered ‘dry bulb’) can take as much as 100 to 150 days. The short-day varieties are better for our mild winters – long-day onions prefer the northern latitudes.


One other thing to know about onions – if you plan to grow them from seed, you need to start them at least two to three months before you plant.  Otherwise, you can easily purchase ‘starts’ – plants that are ready to go in the ground.



The Farm Wife in the Kitchen




There is such a great variety of plants you can add to your garden in the fall. You can also plant broccoli, cauliflower, squash, pumpkins and other cool hardy vegetables.  These are all things that can also be eaten fresh or frozen for later use.


One of the great benefits of a fall garden is fewer weeds! Most of the weeds we have around here prefer the hot summer. You will still have a few, but not nearly as many as you will during the spring and summer.



Get Ready for Fall


Thinking about planning a fall garden? One of the best things you can do to get started is getting Joy’s Garden Planning Printables. She has an excellent Garden Planning Printable that is downloadable. The best part is, you can print several copies, add them to a notebook, and keep them handy for each year.  One of the best ways to organize your garden plans and ideas!


Garden Planning Printables



Get Organized


Review of Step One –


Now that you are getting prepared for your fall garden, here is a great way to get organized.  Joy’s printables takes the stress out of organizing the planning, planting, spacing and succession planting dates.  Want to get rid of the mountains of paperwork you are shuffling through again and again to find what you need? Just print these out and put them in a notebook. 


Do you have a desire to make the most out of the garden space you have? Take a look at Page 9. Want to get a plan in place easily?  Easier done than said!  Are you searching for a customized chart that shows when you need to plant each thing in your garden? Joy’s is readable at a glance. 


Do you get tired of stressing if you will forget when you wanted to plant that second planting of beans? Her page on Succession Planting will take away your worry. There is even a page on how much to plant.  If you want a simple, uniform system to keep track of everything, then be sure to download Joy’s Garden Planning Printables.  It will certainly take all the stress out of the garden!


Step Two –  


Ready to get started? Head over to visit Mary at Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. You can save quite a bit of money if you choose seeds from her .99 cent selection. I have used her seeds and love them!




So, what are you waiting for? Visit Joy. Stop by Mary’s. Then get started with your fall garden. Don’t forget to let me know what you plant, and how your garden grows. I love to know how everyone else is doing with their gardens!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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