Planting the Fall Garden

It’s early August and that means it’s time to get planting for a fall garden here in Southern Indiana. I managed to get all of the fall brassicas in the ground this week. Most of them went in the fenced main garden area, in a spot where garlic was growing earlier. I like to set out transplants with a fairly big root system on them, so I generally pot them up into 3.5″ plastic pots, 18 of which fit nicely into standard potting flats.

cabbage seedling

cabbage seedling

Before planting I amended the soil with compost and fertilizer. Our soil is a silty loam that benefits from liberal doses of compost and other organic materials. Of course, compost is really great for any soil type. I do my best to produce as much of this “brown gold” (as Jim Crockett called it) as I can.

hauling compost in the garden cart

hauling compost in the garden cart

I planted the broccoli, cabbage, kale and kohlrabi in a double-wide staggered row, setting the plants about 16-18″ apart from each other. I’ve been using this method for a couple of years now, and it seems to work well. I ran out of time the day I was planting but I will come back in a few days and mulch the plants with straw before the weeds start sprouting. This bed is in between the caged indeterminate tomatoes and the bush squashes, where it will receive about a half day shade. These plants should tolerate the partial shade well, especially early on when it is hot like it is right about now.

double wide row of fall brassicas

double wide row of fall brassicas

I got the fall carrots and radishes planted last week. The radishes are mainly storage types like China Rose, Round Black Spanish, and the daikon Minowase Summer Cross. I’ll plant some of the quicker maturing types like Shunkyo later this month. I’m also trying the Italian heirloom Lungo di Napoli for the first time. Radishes make a great fall crop here, and the storage types keep well in the ground as well as after harvest. I covered the carrots with row cover material after seeding, and I’ve been keeping them well watered. They started coming up in six days, and I’ll keep the material on them until they all are coming up. The radishes were quicker and were sprouting up in three days time.

China Rose radishes sprouting

China Rose radishes sprouting

One more task I accomplished was replanting some kale in one of the cold frame beds. I planted Beedy’s Camden and Red Ursa there this spring, and while the plants are still alive and well, they are growing tall and hard to keep covered up with the bird netting I use to keep the critters away. I decided it made sense to replant with new seedlings in a different bed. I think the kale leaves get rather tough and strong tasting this time of year, so the new plants will start bearing once the weather has cooled a bit. I also tucked a few kohlrabi plants in the bed where celery is growing. I’m using shredded paper for mulch in these beds.


Beedy’s Camden kale seedling

By spending a little time now, I am hoping to extend our harvests as long as possible. At the moment we are in the middle of the prime harvesting and preserving season, but I am surely looking forward to the slower pace that fall gardening brings!

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3 Responses to Planting the Fall Garden

  1. Daphne says:

    I always have to plant my fall brassicas much earlier. I get a lot of shade in the fall so if they aren’t big enough early they won’t grow to full size.

  2. Margaret says:

    You certainly have been hard at work. I’ve been trying to get my darn fall carrots into the ground all week, but it’s been one delay after another. I finally finished the seed mats today – and they are going into the ground tomorrow…hopefully.

  3. Dave's SFG says:

    Like Daphne, I have to plant earlier to get anything. Because of the more northern latitude, the sun’s arc is never overhead and starts dropping after the solstice and the days start getting shorter. Also, since the garden is in a field surrounded by woods, the sun starts falling into the tree tops, shading parts of the garden. And the reduced angle means the strength of the sun decreases. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is, plants will grow slower or not at all. Bummer because we sometimes get fantastic Indian summers lasting into November. Plants will hold in the garden but nothing really grows.

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