The fall garden

I live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8 – the “Lower South.” On average, our first frost occurs between November 1 and 10 and our last frost between March 21 and 31. This growing season is long enough to have two seasonal vegetable gardens – the spring garden and the fall garden.

The spring garden usually starts in February, with prepping the soil and then planting the early, frost tolerant crops. The fall garden begins in late August with prepping the soil and starting seeds for planting in early September.

I grow a spring garden every year. Every year, I learn more about what I’m growing and the weather conditions and pests that affect production and I get better at it.

This year is only my fourth attempt at a fall garden. My previous three tries had not gone very well and rather than invest any time or money in it, I’ve skipped it rather than fail at it.

But, this year, I decided to give it another shot. I mean, the whole purpose of living in the lower south and having a 5+ acre chunk of ground and living more simply dictates that I learn to get better at it.

So, on a smaller scale than previous attempts, I planted a fall garden and finally, I am having a bit more success this year and am learning a lot, so I will do even better next year.

I’ve planted green cabbage, red cabbage, collards, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Here is one of my green cabbages. A nice head is starting to form.

See the buttons on the stock starting to emerge? These will be brussels sprouts!

This is my second growth of broccoli on this plant. I learned on You Tube, to cut the main crown off and then let the small shoots grow for a bit! Below is a photo of the main crown that had been cut from the center of the plant.

We’ve eaten broccoli and collard greens several times now and I’m getting very excited to pick some green cabbage heads.  My red cabbages were getting eaten by bugs, but I think I’ve finally got them under control and they are perking up. The cauliflower isn’t doing much yet, but I’m still optimistic.

I’m thinking I just might get the hang of this fall gardening thing yet. Now, if I can only figure out how to get my indoor Christmas cacti to bloom.