Garden second chance

Every summer I dream of planting a large garden, but then spring will roll over and time will run out. With the kids on track and baseball, we always feel like we’re gone. This year I picked up a few tomato plants from the FFA plant sale, and the pumpkins I threw into the garden last fall are going like a bunker.

A few years ago, I decided to plant a fall garden. Once the children return to school (two in college and one in high school), I have plenty of time to work outside the home.

To fall, choose fast-growing vegetables such as arugula, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, onions, radishes, broccoli, carrots, beans, cauliflower, green onions, cabbage, coriander and cabbage. If none of these vegetables are grown (or not eaten), now is the time to try them.

Plants are great for spring gardens because they can be planted in containers and brought in when the temperature drops below freezing. Store them in a sunny kitchen window that you can use in the spring ovens.

The soil is often dry this year, so it is a good idea to plant it after the rain or soak the area well a day before. Seeds planted in late summer or early autumn need to be watered more frequently than seeds planted in the spring. Once the plants are established, give them an inch of water once a week.

When snow is forecast, small plants can be covered in clocks, buckets, boxes, or bags. Cover large areas with an old sheet or blanket overnight.

Cold frames are another good way to protect plants, as they can be easily opened during the day and closed at night. All you need is a box made of wood or concrete blocks and a removable cover made of clear materials such as acrylic plastic or old window frames.

Raise or remove cover on sunny days to keep plants from overheating and air circulation. Cover at night. Also, use frozen frames to skip spring gardening.

Another bonus: Planting a harvest garden is often less expensive because you can use the seeds left over from the spring or get deep discounts at the garden center.

We don’t often get second chances in life, so take advantage of this and plant a fall garden!

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