Lessons learned from a fall veggie garden

I wanted to share some things I’ve learned from the vegetable garden this year. Never before have I planted veggies for the fall, but I tried this year and had some success! We’ve also had an unusually warm fall so I’m sure that played into my favor. Inspired by Morag Gamble, a permaculture enthusiast and educator from Australia, I tried her no till method of planting. Read about it from her here or watch her YouTube video here. Morag has a wonderful voice to listen to. 

radishes, fall 2020

carrots, fall 2020
kale, fall 2020, planted in spring

To do the no till method (modified a bit from Morag) I gently loosened up the existing dirt, added new soil and compost, planted my veggie seeds or plants, added a layer of mulch (grass clippings and chipped wood) and watered well. I wasn’t sure how the plants would do, but I now think they are outperforming my spring ones. The soil was also much warmer at planting this time around, so there could be multiple things at play. 

I’m really enjoying being able to harvest radishes, spinach, carrots, kale and broccoli right now. I also have cabbage that’s ready to go and some sugar snap peas on the way. I’ve tried broccoli several times and have struggled with it every time. I was recently reading in my Campbell County extension office booklet that it’s better to plant broccoli in the fall. That has definitely proven to be true for me. I have broccoli heads that are 6” across! Well, only one made it that far and one more is catching up. The others have been picked at by my boys while they’re outside playing. It makes me smile ear to ear when I see Wes munching on freshly picked broccoli or Simon with a handful of kale he likes to snack on. I did cover the broccoli and cabbage plants with a lightweight gardening blanket when they were first planted. I also did this is in the spring. Once they’re got to be a substantial size, I uncovered them and sprinkled kaolin on the leaves. The kaolin keeps the bugs off but washes away in the rain so I had to reapply a couple times. Other than that, they’ve been doing really well with little pest issues. I also applied the kaolin to the kale (more so in the early-mid summer) and that helped tremendously. On another note, my mom discovered a trick for cabbage this year.  She put cedar shavings and small chunks of cedar around the plants. I did this as well and we believe that has really helped to keep cabbage moths at bay. Both our cabbage plants have done the best they ever have. 

broccoli, fall 2020

cabbage, fall 2020

Wes grabbing some broccoli

There’s always new things to learn and I’m so glad I tried the fall planting this year. If you have tried fall planting, I’d love to hear how it went for you. Let me know in the comments below. Happy gardening!  Bethany


sugar snap peas, fall 2020
radish seed pods from a radish planted in spring


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