Fall is for harvest! It always feels like the best time of the year, when the fruits of your labor are in full swing. We asked our Estate Horticulturist, Vanessa Giampaoli, what to do in the garden during the fall and winter months. She had some great tips to keep your garden flourishing year-round.
Beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are all vegetables that should still be available to harvest. Besides enjoying the abundance that fall can bring, what are other fall garden activities? For starters, this is the time of year when you should plant a crop of brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or kale). Transplants should be set out by late September or early November.
The fall/winter season is also a wonderful time to add cover crops or sow wildflowers! It might seem silly to cover-crop small, raised garden beds, but the benefits of just throwing a mix of seeds down and letting the winter rains germinate them are endless. Having plants constantly growing, whether inground or in raised beds, helps improve soil health by increasing water retention and adding organic matter. It’s also important to remember that once you are finished with a crop, it is a good idea to chop it up and leave the roots in the soil to decompose.
A great cover crop that duals as an edible crop would be fava beans. These delicious large broad beans are nitrogen-fixing legumes and a perfect option to plant in a bed before you plant a spring brassica crop. If you are looking to break up soil, but don’t what to till the ground yourself, try seeding mustard or barley. These crops send down large stalks that help with compaction. In addition, mustard provides color and flowers for bees to survive in the wintertime.
Overall, late in the season before a forecasted rain is a wonderful time to sow any seeds you’d like to pop up in early spring. If you have poppies or other native wildflowers, this is a wonderful times to spread them around and let nature do the work.
Enjoy your fall and winter garden!
October 3, 2023