Backyard to your kitchen: Tips for growing a Fall garden

companion-plants

Don’t Fall Behind With Your Garden

As the summer progresses and our gardens flourish, it’s time to starting planning what to plant in our fall gardens.  Many plants such as lettuce, carrots and onions can be grown in a spring garden but truly thrive as cool weather crops, particularly in the flavour department. Preparing for your fall garden is much the same as what you would do in the spring, with a few other things to consider.

Planting time

Fall gardens are typically planted in July and August. In the spring when we plant our gardens we are worried about planting to early and losing our precious plants to the last frost. With fall gardens you need to make sure you do not plant too late. You now need to factor in when you can expect the first killer frost. Across various regions in Canada, the average first killer frost is anywhere from mid-August to early November.

This date is important when you are deciding when you should be planting your fall gardens. The number of days until maturity (ready to harvest) is on the back of most seed packs and plant identification tags. Find out what the approximate first frost date is in your area and count backwards. It’s better to plant a little too early than too late.

Cauliflower-plant

Cauliflower

Hardiness of plants 

The hardiness of a plant refers to how much of a tolerance the plant has to cold temperatures. Typically categorized as tender (non-hardy) or hardy. Most hardy  vegetables can survive a frost if left  with little or no protection. Hardy plants include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, kohlrabi, onions, radishes, spinach, and beets.

Various materials can be used to protect your fall garden from the anticipated frost. Young, smaller plants could be covered with a light sheet of plastic or even newspapers, larger plants could be covered with a container big enough to fit over the whole plant or a small structure made of a few stakes and some burlap.

wall-garden-in-full-harvest

Direct seeding your Fall garden

If you choose to sow your own seeds rather than purchase plants, consider letting the germination process take place indoors. Indoor conditions are ideal as the summer months are hot and dry and some seeds may not germinate in soil that is too warm, this also makes keeping the soil moist during the germination process more of a challenge.

Transplanting  

In a previous post I talked about hardening off your plants. As most fall garden planting is done in the summer the plants need to be gradually exposed to the hot sun. Providing light shade for a few days after planting will give the plant a chance to adjust to the temperature and its new home without the added stress of a sunburnt plant. If you can plant your garden on a cloudy day that’s even better.

Insects and disease

Cool, moist weather in the fall creates the perfect environment for many plant loving diseases. Insects are also more abundant after populating for the summer months. If you choose to use pesticides as your plan of attack against these unwanted pests, make sure you look into what pesticides, if any, are legal to be used in your area.

The best defence against insects and disease is to maintain healthy, actively growing, strong plants. Just like our immune systems, weak plants are more susceptible to insect damage and/or disease. Remember to water thoroughly each time, avoiding frequent light watering. Although, at the seedling stage light frequent watering is easier on the little guys. Remembering to fertilize will help to maintain strong, healthy plants. Also, clean up any plant debris in the garden that may be keeping the pests around.

My Spring gardening

opsy-turvey-tomato-planter

I thought I’d share a bit about how my spring  garden is doing this year. My vertical shoe organizer wall garden is doing extremely well, we have enjoyed some romaine lettuce, garnished with some parsley and frozen some spinach. I’m sad to report  though that my Topsy Turvy tomato plant had an accident and fell to the ground, making a few good breaks in the plant. Although, I do have faith in the Topsy Turvy as the plant is starting to make a comeback!! It appears to be worth more than the $2.00 I paid for it at Dollarama. I look forward to trying this again next year.

carrots-onions-planter-companion

Carrots and Onions

I have planted an Alfresco mix of leaf lettuce in a container as a companion plant to some carrots. I have to say this is by far the nicest lettuce I have had the pleasure of eating. I truly believe companion plantings produce more flavourful vegetables. My son has even eaten it, if you knew how picky of an eater my son can be you’d understand what a success this was.

Kohlrabi-garden

Kohlrabi-garden

What is a kohlrabi?

A kohlrabi is sometimes to referred to as a German turnip. Wikipedia describes  the taste and texture of kohlrabi as ‘ similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet’ Kohlrabi reminds me of a less crunchy radish with a not so harsh flavour.

Kohlrabi-garden

Kohlrabi peeled-and sliced

How to use a kohlrabi

I’ve already enjoyed kohlrabi from the garden this summer with a bunch still growing in the garden. I grew up eating kohlrabi and have always eaten them raw, sliced like a tomato with a dash of salt. I have been oblivious all these years to the fact that people actually cook them. I am still looking to try new recipes for kohlrabi so I can expand how I am used to working with kohlrabi in the kitchen. Kohlrabi is so good raw and I guess I never about cooking them, why change a good thing right? Now that I know, I need to learn more about this! I would love to hear of any tips or recipes that you may know.

We’ve also enjoyed some green beans, hot peppers and strawberries. We have lots yet to enjoy including carrots, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. The best part is that it is saving me money in my grocery budget because now I get to shop in my backyard enjoying organic produce.

My free rhubarb plant appears to be happy in its new home but I’m not expecting much if any rhubarb at all this year from it. I also planted two more rhubarb plants that I had purchased but I accidentally severed one with the weed whacker. Oops! It should come back, my fingers are crossed. I have really enjoyed finally being able to devote sometime to growing my own garden this year and I am not quite ready to pack it in.  Now is the time to get thinking about what I’m going to plant in my fall garden.

Have you made plans on how you are going to continue enjoy home-grown vegetables into the fall?

Post Contribution By: Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production. Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences through blogging in hopes of helping others realize their gardening abilities.While being a single mom of two and working in a sales and marketing position, Katrina runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
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Comments

  1. donna pierce says:

    Thanks Katrina !! Great information !! Hi Mr. CBB .

  2. Your garden looks awesome! We should have a July update on our garden coming up soon. Last year, I planted carrots and kale over the fall/winter and they turned out great. I covered the entire planter with plastic (I used painting drop sheets from Canadian Tire) and it kept them safe all through winter.

    • Katrina B says:

      Thank you! It’s amazing what you can grow in the off season as long as you create a suitable environment for them! Do you plan to do them again like that this year? We would love to see a photo!

  3. mycanuckbuck says:

    My garden is still in construction mode. With luck. it’ll be ready next spring! :)

    • Katrina B says:

      You have lots of time then to decide what you are going to plant! lol. Thank for stopping by again :)

  4. Christine Weadick says:

    It looks like your garden is doing very well!!! How did it survive the storm yesterday??? I lost one of my tomato plants, it looks like something chewed around the stem at ground level and it fell over before I could Jill up so e soil around the base and try to save it. The other plant looks like it Made it through the storm OK but it’s close to the fence on the downwind side for protection…. I have been thinking about what I could grow in the fall, have to do more thinking on that before the seeds disappear from the stores for the year. I might try that tipsy turvy thing next year, I can hang them from the plant hooks around the porch. Might be interesting to see what the grouch next door has to say then…… Good to hear the companion planting worked so well!! Thanks for the interesting article again Katrina…

    • Katrina B says:

      Thanks again Christine! It didn’t get as bad here for us as they expected so luckily everything is still ok! Good luck with your fall gardening, let us know how it goes!

  5. Melanie Funk says:

    Thanks for the reminder on the fall plants! We struggled to get the garden built and planted on time (some things were put in a little late but we’ll see) and after that marathon I’ve just been puttering and of course taste testing around the garden… Time to pull out the paper and plan the next rotation of plants. Do you freeze or can some of your crop?

    • Katrina B says:

      HI Melanie. I have frozen some spinach already this year and will do more throughout the fall. I will freeze some peppers and likely some stewed tomatoes, I’d like to freeze more strawberries but I can’t seem to keep up with the birds. I plan to do some rhubarb as well when I finally get some. Do you freeze or can?

      • Melanie Funk says:

        I mostly can my produce, as I have only a small freezer (aside from the one on the fridge.) This year I’m hoping to can tomatoes, beans, applesauce, salsa, pickles, and maybe peaches or pears. I freeze all the berries until I use them for jam or baking.. My strawberries just didn’t produce this year, all I’ve gotten are a lot of runners. Considering that the deer came along and pulled them all out I’m just glad their still alive. This is my first year with a garden that isn’t in containers so its pretty nice.

  6. love the pics and the turnip! We just started the 3rd garden attempt today. it rained a lot so should be good. Watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, not really a fall garden!

    • Katrina B says:

      Thanks Pauline, I have 2 on the counter for a snack tomorrow. I’m sure you’re growing season is much different than ours, watermelon certainly wouldn’t do well now!

  7. That’s a dream of Jon and I to start a garden and now I know JUST where to come when we’re trying to figure it out. What a money saver!

    • Katrina B says:

      And it’s fun too! Please come back if you have any questions when starting your garden. Would love to help if I can!

  8. I would LOVE to plant a fall garden! I love the pictures and really enjoy freshly grown garden veggies. But I have so many weeds in my garden right now that I have to deal with that first. Every weekend is spent weeding. Lucky me!

    • That sucks.. and it’s your new place now isn’t it? Are you hoping to do new landscaping?

    • Katrina B says:

      Hi Daisy :) Do you have any pots hanging around? 90% of my garden is in pots and hanging baskets, and the shoe organizer. I have a lot of work to do on my property too, after seeing how well my garden has done this year and how little weeding I’ve had to do, I may just continue this way.

  9. My poor tomato plants are out of control. I’m not really sure what happened. They just grew and grew but didn’t really flower, and now they are falling over. Major garden fail. I wish I had a green thumb. :(

    • You and your green Thumb Tonya lol… Send me a piccie of your plants, now I want to see them. I’ve been trying to comment on your budget post 2 times now and Chrome keeps crashing Twitter when I go to enter… I”ll be around soon to squash your grocery budget hahah

      • Katrina B says:

        Do you have your tomato plants staked at all? If not try and get some in and you might be surprised, you may still get some tomatoes. How often have you fertilized? Tomatoes are pretty resilient I’d still give them a chance. Let us know how they do!

    • Katrina B says:

      Can you delete the previous response my phone jumps all over the place….

  10. I loved the plants in the hanging shoe organizer. Sheer brilliance!

  11. I have some kohlrabi seeds and have not planted them you have inspired me to get them in the ground for my fall garden :) Enjoyed this post! Love seeing all the plants you have growing!

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