Monday, September 5, 2011

10 Reasons You Need a Fall Garden

Last week I posted on "Preparing for Our Fall Garden."  Today, the rain has kept us inside, but hopefully, later this week we can get the soil tilled up and our seeds planted.  We will be growing kale, spinach, bibb lettuce, salad bowl lettuce, and broccoli. 

Whether you lack a green thumb or have a full-fledged garden, here are 10 reasons why you need a fall garden:

1. Lots of planting choices.  You may think that the only crops that grow in the fall are greens but that's not entirely true.  Besides kale, mustard and collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard, you can also plant broccoli, carrots, radishes, sugar snap peas, turnips, Brussels sprouts, leeks, cabbage, snow peas, and cauliflower. There are plenty of options depending on what your family likes to eat.

2. It's inexpensive. Essentially the only costs involved in planting a fall garden are the seeds or transplants, compost or humus, and fertilizer (if you choose to use it).  A packet of seeds costs less than $2 and contains more than enough seeds for one season.  I bought a 4-pack of broccoli transplants this week for $1.50; that will more than feed our family of 4.  When your produce begins to come in, then you will save money at the grocery store.

3. Cool-weather vegetables are especially hardy.  Most fall crops, particularly kale and other dark leafy greens, can withstand cold temperatures, even snow, and continue producing from fall to spring.  I even had kale coming up voluntarily this summer!  That stuff won't die!  Another cost-effective reason to plant a fall garden.

 4. Organic produce for pennies! I try to buy organic whenever I can, especially lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens that tend to be sprayed heavily with pesticides.  With a fall garden filled with my choice of leafy greens, I can control the amount of chemicals, if any, that come in contact with my plants.  That not only provides me with peace of mind, but also saves me tons of money on organics at the store, which, we all know, are ridiculously expensive.

5. Healthy food for cheap. Did you know that the veggies you plant in a fall garden are especially good for your health?  Broccoli is a known nutritional powerhouse: rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D, & K, plus it's high in fiber; dark leafy greens are also high in fiber and have been shown to remove from the body free radicals that cause cancer; and carrot, too, are fiber-rich and specifically linked to fighting colon cancer. 

6. Make it a family affair.  Get the kids involved and the whole family can enjoy the fruits of labor when the produce is ready to harvest.  Not only are children more likely to eat what they've helped grow, but there are so many educational opportunities involved in gardening. 

7. Get some exercise.  Planting a garden is a great way to burn calories and lose weight.  From tilling up the soil to planting seeds and transplants to weeding, watering, and harvesting, there is always something to do that will get your heart pumping.  Plus, there are obvious rewards for your hard work: fresh, home-grown produce.

8. But not too much work.  Compared to a spring/summer garden, in my opinion, the fall garden is much less maintenance.  Weeds aren't as plentiful during the cooler weather, and you don't have to worry about watering everything so often.  Also, the cooler weather crops are just easier to grow. 

9. It's so easy!  Literally, dig up some ground or put some soil into a pot, sow a few seeds, water, and wait for the magic to begin again and again and again.  Honestly, after planting my seeds, the only work I ever do in my fall garden is a little light weeding and harvesting.  Sometimes the greens will become bitter from being in the soil too long, and then I just pull them and throw them into the compost.  Just remember that you want to make sure you are continually harvesting lettuce, spinach, and kale.  Think: fresh salads every day!  That's it!  It's too easy.

10. You're eating local.  Everyone is interested in eating locally grown foods, but what's more local than the food grown in your own garden?  This is "going green" at its best.

Do you plan to have a fall garden?  What will you be planting?

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  1. I was planning to plant a fall garden, then I got discouraged and nearly gave up on the idea. Now, after reading this, I am definitely planting a fall garden. :-)

  2. Yea! Let me know how things go. We are in the midst of a monsoon here so I don't know when I will get our garden tilled up. But we certainly needed the rain! :)

  3. It feels like the garden time should be done but I've been flirting with a fall garden. I think I will do it! Now to just find the time. I think that is why I was waffling because my summer one takes so much time. Your post makes the fall one sound doable!

  4. You might have just convinced me ... and we do have a garden box :) Love the name of your blog and had to stop by.

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip into some serious goodness.


  5. Kim, the summer garden does take A LOT of work, but from my meager experience, the fall garden is a lot simpler. Consider though that we only plant greens, lettuce, and broccoli, and they are easy to grow and low-maintenance. Best of luck! Thanks for stopping by! Blessings to you...

  6. Hi, Sarah! Your blog is very nice, too. Love all the pictures of your family. Thanks for stopping by.


  7. I hadn't thought of this...I really need to get a fall garden started! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. i've never even heard of a fall garden! you've got me thinking!!