Right about now, you are likely harvesting the last of your spring and summer garden goodness and deciding what to plant next now that the temperature is dropping. To help you decide, here are four options that are easy to grow and do not take up much space.
The weather is finally cooling off enough to get radishes in the ground. Radishes are incredibly easy to grow and reach maturity in as little as 30 days, so this is a great vegetable for beginner gardeners. You will want to use succession planting so that you can enjoy radishes throughout winter, so plant one row now, another row in a week or two, and another row a week or two after that. Keep that up to extend your harvest through winter and into spring. To plant, push seeds about one-half inch into the soil about one inch apart in rows that are about three inches apart. Once your radishes begin to sprout, thin them out to about two to three inches apart.
Lettuces are easy to grow and are the perfect addition to fall and winter salads. They do not take up much space, and you can extend your harvest by sowing seeds every two weeks. Lettuce seeds are tiny and need sun to sprout, so you will push these seeds just under the soil about one-quarter inch or less in rows that are about 12 inches apart. Lettuce requires regular watering and a sunny spot, but that is about it. You can plant it pretty close together to save space and crowd out weeds and can harvest leaves as they mature.
If you have limited space, I would recommend growing spinach over growing lettuces. Spinach is higher in nutrition than most lettuces and is much more versatile for salads, soups, pastas, sauces, and side dishes. It is also easy to grow, easy to harvest, and an easy way to cut down on plastic packaging if you are growing your own rather than buying it in clamshells. Bolting is an issue with spinach, so look for a bolt-resistant variety or make sure it is getting enough water and not too much heat or sun. To plant, push seeds about one-half inch into the soil a few inches apart in rows that are about 12 inches apart. To enjoy spinach throughout winter, practice succession planting by planting some of your seeds every two weeks. Harvest and enjoy as the leaves reach maturity.
Every fall garden needs at least a row or two of beets. This is another root vegetable that is easy to grow and does not take long to mature. Sow the seeds about two inches apart and one-half inch deep in rows that are about 12 inches apart. Once they start to sprout, thin each row so that the remaining sprouts are about four inches apart. Plant seeds every two weeks to extend your harvest. Be sure to harvest your beets before they get too big, since bigger beets can be woody. Also, don’t forget that beet greens are tasty and nutrition, so harvest them as well for use in side dishes, salads, and soups.
Once you have your fall garden squared away, don’t forget to change your HVAC filters and clean your gutters now that we are moving into the rainy season. If you prefer the help of a professional, support the local economy buy hiring local contractors.
AimeeJo Davis-Varela is a freelance writer specializing in real estate, sustainable home improvement, eco-friendly landscaping, green living and travel writing. She is also the owner of Mind Your Manors, which provides second home management services.
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