Planting a Fall Garden the Easy Way


| 8/21/2013 10:01:00 AM


Tags: fall gardening, digital tools, garden planning, Shelley Stonebrook,

Fall doesn’t have to be a time in your garden when your bountiful summer crops simply start to slow down. In fact, in most areas of the country, fall can be one of the most productive times of year in your garden. Many crops thrive in the cooler weather of autumn, and even into winter with a bit of protection. Think spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, cabbage, parsnips, turnips, radishes, broccoli, kale, chard, mustard greens — the list goes on! 

One main question gardeners have about planting a fall garden is, “When should I plant?” No gardener wants to spend time adding compost and putting in new crops, only to have winter’s frosty chill come along and stall or kill the plants before they’ve produced harvestable yields. 

In steps a tool we’ve been raving about for a few years now: the Vegetable Garden Planner. This online tool allows you to create a snazzy digital plan of your fall garden. You draw your beds, click on whatever crops you want to grow, and arrange them in your garden. The tool automatically spaces the crops for you. Then, you click on the “Plant List” button within the Garden Planner, and it tells you the window of time in which to plant each crop based on your exact location (you plug in your ZIP code when you begin), along with an expected harvest window for each. 

New to the Garden Planner this year are various “garden objects” you can place in your plan. Especially useful for fall gardening are the season-extension devices you can add. Choose from hoop houses, cold frames, row covers, greenhouses, heated greenhouses and more. Just place whatever devices you’re using in your garden directly over the crops you plan to protect. The possible planting times and harvest windows will adjust for those crops. 

Fall Garden Plan

In the image above, I’ve added a small hoop house over the left garden bed. Inside the hoop house, I’m growing spinach, kale and leaf lettuce. I’ve also added a small cold frame next to my shed, off the right. In the cold frame, I’ve indicated that I’ll be growing some mustard greens. If you like, you can add labels such as “hoop house” or “cold frame” next to these objects.

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karenr
8/23/2013 11:57:15 AM

The Vegetable Garden Planner has helped our company grow their amazing Employee Garden over the past 3 years. Year to year we use the Garden Planner for communicating within the garden group. It is an incredible tool keeping yearly records to rotate your crops as well as how many plants we can plant in a given space. As someone who's been gardening for the past 30 years, this planner has all the information you need for your garden as well as troubleshooting problems. It's perfect choice for an experienced gardener as well as a novice.





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