By Tiffany Selvey, Master Gardener and mama of 1
After a long, hot, dry summer it’s nice to finally get some rain. The relief couldn’t come at a better time as we make the transition to fall planting. While it would be difficult to get seeds to germinate in in the drought, we are getting rain consistently enough to cool down the soil and keep those precious seedlings damp.
If you are considering starting a small raised garden or planting in a container, this is a great time to do it. As temperatures cool, you won’t have to water as often, and containers require no weeding, making this a good option for busy moms. As you consider fall planting, I want you to first consider how much time you have.
“Free time? What’s that?”:
If you meet yourself coming and going but really want to try growing your own food, start with lettuce. It’s easy to grow in a container, requires almost no maintenance, is simple to harvest, and thrives in cool weather.
In a 12” to 24” planter, fill to about two inches below the rim with high-quality potting soil (I like Miracle Grow Organic Choice). Lightly sprinkle leaf lettuce seeds on top of the soil, about one inch apart, and water well. Place the planter in full sun, and water it when the soil is dry one inch below the surface.
“I have a minute or two”:
For those who have a few luxurious minutes and would like to spend some of it outside, herbs are a great choice to add to the lettuce crop. The nice thing about herbs is that, once established, they can be brought indoors and place in a sunny spot for fresh winter eating.
Cilantro, parsley, and basil all thrive in these cooler days. In one large planter (14” or larger) or several smaller ones, sprinkle seeds with the same spacing as lettuce, and cover lightly with soil and water thoroughly. Place in full sun. Once seedlings are four inches tall, thin to 4”-6” between plants, or one per small planter.
“One more project? Bring it on!”:
Ladies who have more free time and a desire to really start growing food for their family should consider adding broccoli to the container garden. Even after the main head is harvested, the plant will continue to produce yummy side shoots, like mini-broccolis, past the first freeze of the season.
Seeds can be sewn in 14” planters by digging a ½” hole and dropping in 3 seeds. Water well. Once the seedlings are 4” tall, thin to one per container. Broccoli prefers partial shade so if you have a spot on the deck or porch with only a few hours of sun, consider growing broccoli there.
Regardless of your schedule, you can grow something. And don’t forget to get those kids involved! Many studies are coming out proving that children are more likely to eat their veggies when they are included in the growth process.
For a longer list of what can be planted right now, visit 20by20.
Tiffany Selvey is a Master Gardener who writes about her passion for growing, cooking, and living naturally at www.20-by-20.com. When she’s not elbow deep in soil, she enjoys raising a very active son, laughing with her husband, and wrangling their five pets. Click HERE to read more in our Gardening Category.