If you followed our summer gardening tips, growing your garden into the fall and preparing for the next planting season can be a breeze. Since the weather is still relatively warm and the first frost is in the distant future, fall gardens thrive in Arizona. This is also a great time to prepare your garden for winter fruits and vegetables. Here is some advice and guidance on advancing your fall garden to get the most out of your hard work:
Before planting, you’ll want to take steps to make sure your next harvest can thrive and your current plants can continue to produce. Weeding is important -- this is the time to check underneath leaves and in hidden spots of the garden. Make sure even the tiniest weeds are removed. Removing anything spent or dead will help the current and new vegetables flourish. We know it's hard to part with some plants, but if they haven't bounced back or are struggling, it might be time to pull them so other plants can survive in a healthier environment.
The next step is to replenish the existing beds with compost, new soil, and organic fertilizers. Your summer garden probably absorbed most of the important nutrients and will need more to thrive through the weather change. You will also want to loosen the soil, as weathering is sure to have compacted it. Loosening the soil will ensure your plants have more access to oxygen and other needed elements. Be gentle and careful as to not uproot the existing plants. If some of your beds are empty, rake and mix the soil completely to get it ready for the next plants.
Fall is a time when many of your summer vegetables will still grow. Tomatoes, lettuce, onions and carrots can last throughout the fall, so make sure to pay extra attention to the replenishing step for these plants. When it comes to planting new items, remember that Arizona is home to a wonderful fall garden climate. Planting in late August and early September will highlight recommended fall vegetables. Items like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can be planted at this time and will grow through the winter. Make sure to get these into the ground as soon as possible. You can put them in the beds with your existing summer garden, as they draw different nutrients from the soil and will flourish in those replenished summer beds.
Winter vegetable gardens do well here, and there are easy ways to ensure you are prepared for this next season early on. Ramping up your compost during this time is important and will give your winter garden that extra boost to stay healthy through the frost. One thing to remember: Don’t compost your pepper and tomato plants, as they have components that stunt many winter crops. If you are planning on creating an anti-frost structure (similar to shading), it is good to do it now so roots are not interrupted while your plants are seeding. Stay tuned for our winter garden edition and get an early start on prepping with these tips!
By taking advantage of Arizona’s wonderful climate, you can add many delicious fruits and vegetables to your plate harvested right from your own garden. Clean up, replenish, replant and prepare your home garden to get the most out of the time and money spent! With these simple and easy-to-follow steps, your garden can produce all year long. Don’t forget to look for seeds at your local farmers market and double your garden bounty with Double Up Food Bucks!
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