Planting A Fall Garden Basics- Fall is The New Spring!
[WPXperVideo id=3 ] What is going on over and welcome to another very exciting episode right here on the mi Gardner channel I am so excited for this episode because I8217;m gonna be sharing with you not only my favorite season of gardening but also a lot of plants that fit in that season that people so often overlooked and so I want to talk about fall gardening.
Now you might be wondering why on earth is fall your favorite time of year for gardening. It8217;s because it8217;s our longest season with beautiful weather here in Michigan. We don8217;t have a spring and our summers are relentless. In fact our summers are so hot that our garden grows and we go in and we go on enjoying harvesting from it but we don8217;t actually get out there and enjoy our garden like you think because our summers man they can be ninety to a hundred degrees and I know a lot of people you know New Mexico and Texas and Southern California you8217;re laughing at me when I say a hundred degrees is hot but you have to understand that8217;s all climatization. If I go there and it8217;s a hundred and ten I8217;m gonna have a heat stroke whereas you guys are outside just having a great time and likewise if you come here and it8217;s like 70 degrees we8217;re all out on t-shirt and shorts and sandals and you8217;re putting on a winter coat it8217;s all it8217;s very relative but you have to understand that here in Michigan when it hits 90 to 100 degrees it8217;s just too hot. It8217;s way too hot, it is way too warm. We just end up staying indoors or finding shade somewhere, we really don8217;t get to enjoy the garden.
So the season that I enjoy the garden the most and by enjoy I mean I actually get to get my hands in the soil, I actually spend time coming out to look at plants longer, I like to take pictures in the garden more, I grow more crops that I eat raw and fresh from the garden rather than yo crops like tomatoes where I might grow it, harvest it, bring it inside and end up preserving it for the off season of winter. We turn a lot of it into pizza sauce spaghetti sauce and things like that. We don8217;t eat those things a lot in their raw form whereas a lot of your cool other crops we enjoy eating fresh things like lettuces and broccoli cabbage kale radishes a lot of those things they8217;re so delicious fresh but the season to grow them folks is the fall.
It is such a beautiful season here at least in Michigan. I know a lot of Great Lakes regions experienced the same type of season where I8217;m starting to kind of push this as fall is the new spring and that8217;s kind of a the idea that we want you to take home from this video is that fall is the new spring. Anything you can plant in the spring you can also plant in the fall even easier and you might have already had your mind blown by that but I want to explain that because before we get into planting it. I want to express why that8217;s the case. It8217;s because when you8217;re planting out your for your spring garden you have to worry about when8217;s my last frost date, when is one of my last frost date that I can put stuff out and then I have to worry about starting it indoors. Do I have the light, start the setups driving up space, all those question marks as well. If all of that8217;s true then you start your stuff indoors, you move it outdoors, there8217;s a transition period and then you get it all outside. You put it in the ground and for what a week and a half or two weeks of beautiful weather for fall crops. Fall crops like a high of 70 degrees and around a low of 35 to 40 degrees so they like it. They like it relatively cool. I8217;m cool, too warm, they don8217;t like it hot.
Lettuce will bolt, spinach will bolt, broccoli will bolt and so often we put our crops out in the spring saying yes we got our spring crops. I mean everyone calls them spring crops. I8217;m going to start from now on calling them fall crops because it makes a whole lot more sense, because when we can plant outdoors, when we actually can plant outdoors in our last frost state generally we8217;re also moving out things like tomatoes and peppers and squash and zucchini. Those are things that are safe to plant outdoors in that time but also we8217;re moving a lot of are things like our broccoli and our cabbage and the problem is once we get them in the ground the weather goes from 70 degrees which is great, 60 to 70 degrees to like 80 or 90 almost overnight. I mean it8217;s absolutely insane by June.
We8217;re having weather in the low 80s to to mid 90s in June and we8217;re barely getting our garden in by May so I mean there8217;s just not a transition period there of maybe what a month. That8217;s not enough time and the thing is that shock period ends up sending everything to pulled and you8217;ll lose a lot of your garden and it just kind of ends up being wasted space in the end because you really don8217;t get to enjoy it like you would getting it to full maturity. So we8217;re gonna be planting a fall garden today. I8217;m going with you, I8217;m going to be kind of sharing with you some of the crops that we like to plant in this bed here. We plant it in this bed that has our caterpillar tunnel because our caterpillar tunnel is multi-purpose we can throw a shade cloth over top if it gets too hot and we can throw a greenhouse cover over top if it gets too cold and this is great, this is versatile. That stays up all year long for that purpose because this bed it8217;s only designated for for cool weather crops so the first most obvious thing we8217;ve planted which is actually been planted over on this side of the bed is all of our lettuces.
We plant high-intensity lettuce and that means we do not really worry about spacing our seeds apart but we space our rows about four inches apart between each row. We highly seed where we densely seed. Everything grows up in a thick mat and it helps to shade the soil protect against evaporation. It also helps to suppress the weeds and it really helps to just get us the most bang for our buck here in the space that we8217;re growing. So in this space we planted some some red romaine, some grand Grand Rapids leaf lettuce, some freckles romaine Tango leaf lettuce. This is our all-time favorite lettuce and always will be. It8217;s just incredible, some iceberg. We do not let this actually get to a head, we just harvest the leaves. So in this method here everything is for leaf lettuce, nothing is actually for cut greens and that means we could harvest sooner and we can grow more than letting everything get up to a big head and the final thing is costs so we8217;ve planted those before in the past. Those are kind of our go-to for fall but what we8217;re going to planting here next is our beets so we8217;ve got and then we8217;re also gonna be planting some spinach so that8217;s going to be in this bed here we greens beets and spinach another thing that we8217;re doing this year is we8217;re actually using a bamboo stake.
I8217;ve cut a bamboo stake to roughly the size or the length of our bed and I8217;m using this because we started adapting this method from a lot of our friends over in Europe that use this method. They actually use a board and they get some nice straight lines and one of the things that I8217;ve always said is I don8217;t like a lot of tools in the garden but this is one that I can see myself using a lot more often. I8217;ve started using it here and I really like how accurate and straight the rows are it gives us just a very simple guide where we can we can place it. Replace it right here and then draw out our our rows and that way we8217;re going to have real straight lines that are just consistent. And it helps utilize our space more effectively because that8217;s one thing to consider is you know this doesn8217;t have to be the fall garden schedule. With any garden if you8217;re growing like this and your next row is like this number one your spacing over here is way too close and these ones are too far apart and you8217;re not using your space effectively. One row might be three inches apart. The next row might be five inches apart, next row might be four inches apart and that in those inconsistencies all add up to less space actually growing food and so this really just helps us to get a nice even line and then we8217;ll go through and we8217;ll we8217;ll plant our seeds.
Alright so we just planted up. The lettuce is done and the beets are done and now we got the spinach to plant. We8217;re gonna plant it exactly the same way so I won8217;t I won8217;t bore you with planting that up but that8217;s also going to go in here. We8217;re gonna plant about a third of our bed up with spinach and you might be wondering yourself well Luke it8217;s not even August yet, why are you planting spinach. Well because spinach and lettuce they can grow in the summer. It8217;s a very common misconception that you can8217;t grow spinach and and your cooler crops like lettuce and things like that in the summer and in fact you can. You should harvest it sooner. So because it8217;s going to obviously go to seed a lot sooner we8217;re going to harvest a lot sooner but we can always go back and replant it because we8217;re also going to have other beds in here like where we harvested our garlic from. That8217;s also going to be converted over to fall crops as well, so we8217;re going to have lots of different things going on. One of the things also we8217;re going to be planting is a fall harvest of carrots and so with all these varieties in mind you might be wondering in fact, if you probably haven8217;t already commented in the comments box, well what about that crop, what about this crop and and here8217;s what I have to say about that. A fall garden can be anything that you want to plant. Then you may be wondering yourself well what do you mean anything I want to plant.
I literally mean anything you want to plant. there8217;s no specific plant that belongs in a fall garden. true cool weather crops will do better in a fall garden because the weather is cooling down and that8217;s kind of the purpose, but for instance we8217;ve taken a lot of tips from the Amish when it comes to fall tomatoes because we like a long prolonged harvest of tomatoes and so we8217;ve started to actually succession plant our tomatoes. Where our one tomato bed which is just coming into fruition right now, is giving us loads of tomatoes however our other tomato bed is barely putting on tomatoes. Meaning that by the time that plant comes to full maturity it8217;s going to be sometime around mid to late September, early October before it8217;s completely mature and giving us lots of fruit and that8217;s something that is a fall harvest. You know just because it8217;s fall doesn8217;t mean you can8217;t grow summer crops either so keep that in mind.
You know obviously there are things that are challenging but I always say depending on your area it might not be challenging. Things like cucumbers and things like some of your your zucchini and some of your squashes, things like that they don8217;t do well in our area but if you live someplace in like a high desert location where it8217;s dry but also cool, squashes. Squash just has a hard time here because of powdery mildew later on in the season. so we don8217;t grow that type of crop but tomatoes do just fine. You can even get plenty of things like beans. Because we have a lot of beans already I8217;m not gonna plant any more because they8217;ll produce well into fall already as it is. So I don8217;t need to plant any more but if you8217;re someone that wants to plan a fall harvest of beans just make sure you know how many days to maturity it is plus how many days to to germination it is. Add the two together and see if you have enough time before your last harvest are before your first frost date. So ours is around October 20th. If you take today8217;s date and you see how many days it is till your first frost date look on the back of every seed packet and see if you have enough days to maturity plus days to germination add the two together and if you do grow it.
Try it see if it grows well in your area. I always say you never know unless you try and so for us we8217;re going to be sticking to just those those basic four, carrots, beets, lettuce and spinach but obviously radishes are another option for you. Radishes pick 25 to 30 days. You can grow easily radishes in this amount of time for a fall garden. If you8217;re looking at something like broccoli get it in the ground. Broccoli is a wonderful fall crop because broccoli actually does even better in the fall. It8217;s one of those things that you want, I want you to experience, I want you to experiment with and and I8217;ve given you some good ideas and I8217;ve given you a framework for what you need to to look for but just go out and give it a shot. You know like I said I8217;ve tried things before that have not worked and I8217;ve tried things before that people say wouldn8217;t work and they ended up working, so I don8217;t like ever telling you what you should and shouldn8217;t plant. I8217;m telling you what I8217;m gonna plant and there8217;s a lot of things out there to consider.
Leave space for garlic. Garlic is a crop that we grow a lot of. It is one that you have to plant in the fall because it needs a cool period so that forms good sized heads and that8217;s something you have to plant in the fall. So we always dedicate about 1/2 a bed to 3/4 of a bed for garlic and that8217;s just something that we do because we love garlic but again think of what plants you like to grow. See if you can grow them and if you enjoy eating them and they have enough time to grow plant them.So I hope you all enjoy, I hope you learned something new, I really do hope that this trick here with the bamboo steak was helpful to some people. Again you know it8217;s nothing that I8217;ve patented it8217;s been used for centuries but it8217;s it8217;s something we just kind of thought we8217;d give a shot. We ended up really liking it for getting across our entire bed in really nice straight lines, a good visual guide of where we need to be drawing our rows and that8217;s really helped.