A Guide to Planting a Fall Garden
This fall, I am resurrecting my farm girl roots to plant a garden of my own at my new home. If you think it’s too late to plant a fall vegetable garden – think again! While the opportunity to plant some varieties of veggies and fruits may be winding down for the summer, there are still many things you can plant this month for a fall harvest!
Whether you’re a novice gardener or a veteran green thumb, you may find some inspiration here to get working in the soil. Read along to see how I’m planning my fall garden this year.
Location & Design
Planning your garden’s location and design is so time consuming, and personally, it’s my least favorite aspect of gardening. If I could bypass that whole process, I would to be able to get straight to planting! But thoughtful effort ahead of the game always pays off in the end. I was fortunate when I came across a cheap and simple system for building raised garden bed. Lowe’s carries retainer wall blocks that essentially serve as the cornerstone for any length of lumber boards that simplify building a raised garden bed. I chose an area with the most optimal access to full sun, water, and good drainage for our garden. If you do not have much ground area to build a garden, don’t let that dissuade you. Container gardening can be just as effective as well as a fun way to beautify your residence with foliage.
What to Plant
Most nurseries and garden centers will carry plants and seeds seasonally for their most suitable planting time. A good hack is reading the planter label or the back of the seed packet to see months to plant and harvest. In addition, you will want to familiarize your hardiness zone (an area defined by its climate for planting – Fort Worth is in the USDA Hardiness Zone 8) as this will give you a more information of how different plant species handle your local temperatures. Additionally, there are a lot of resources online. A great one if the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension website. Thankfully, many everyday veggies are so universal like greens and tomatoes that with proper care, they’ll do well almost anywhere!
This month, I am planting a lot of quick harvest veggies such as lettuces, heirloom kale, spinach, radishes, green beans, and carrots. Most of these can be directly seeded, but if you want to skip the step of thinning them out after germination, you can plant your seeds in individual seed starters or make your paper egg cartons. If you don’t feel confident enough to grow from seeds, your local nursery or garden center have a good variety of vegetables!
Care & Pest Prevention
Many of the veggies I mentioned are very low maintenance. For the most part, they need nutrient rich topsoil, sunlight, and proper watering to grow and thrive. Though, one tricky thing to remember is that there are others who also enjoy fresh veggies; critters and creatures from deer to tiny snails may invade your growing produce which is why is important to familiarize what types of pests and animals your garden is most susceptible too, so that you can take the necessary precautions to keep these unwanted guests out of your diligently tended garden. These could be something as simple as natural and safe pesticides, fencing or garden netting to set you up for the best harvest possible.
Gardening can be so therapeutic and cathartic, but trial and error comes with the territory. Remember to have fun along the way while you learn and experiment!
From my garden to yours, I wish you best of luck on your gardening ventures and a plentiful harvest this fall! Happy Gardening!
Gretta Hendricks is a multidisciplinary creative who has been a chocolatier, baker, birth-doula, performance artist, and freelance writer, although her favorite job to-date has been becoming a first-time mama to her beautiful rainbow baby, Ofelia, born in January of 2020. Gretta has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember and is passionately interested in the ways she can both learn and share from the art of storytelling. Alongside her husband and daughter, she loves living in and exploring Fort Worth as well as pouring into her church and local community.