It’s the first week of September and it’s time to assess how your garden is doing.  Are your cucumbers and tomato plants brown and crispy looking?  If so, clear them out to make way for your fall crops!  Don’t delay much beyond the first couple of weeks of September, however, you are racing against the dwindling daylight hours.  After mid-December, daylight drops below 10 hours a day and plant growth stops until late-January.  You want to time fall crops to mature before this happens, so get your seeds and plants in the ground ASAP!

  • Sow outdoors: arugula, Asian greens, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach, turnips
  • Transplant: broccoli, brussels, cabbage,  cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, parsley, swiss chard

While you are clearing out the old and putting in the new, don’t forget to save room in your garden for garlic!  This can be a strange concept for beginning gardeners, but garlic is traditionally planted in October.

If you’re not planning to put in plants for the fall, or even if you are, consider planting your garden in cover crops.  we recommend that our gardeners plant at least 50% of their garden in cover crops over the winter, to help restore the soil.  Cover crops can help retain nutrients so they don’t wash away with winter rains, fix nitrogen to reduce spring fertilizer needs, break up compaction, and feed a diversity of soil microbe life (the Underground Herd) that fight pests and disease and help feed your plants.  And this is only a sampling of the many benefits of cover crops!  We pass out a mix of Winter Rye, Winter Wheat, Hairy Vetch, Crimson Clover and Daikon Radish to our participants in East TN.

Happy Fall Gardening!