“Fall” into Autumn Gardening!
by Kate Jablonski, Health Educator
Are you worried that the beautiful and luscious garden you worked so hard to cultivate over the summer will become barren and brown during the colder fall and winter months? Have no fear! Fall’s cool and crisp temperatures are perfect for delicious cool-season crops like beets and spinach.
To get started, be sure to rid your garden of any summer plants that are no longer producing or have already been harvested. It is always a good idea to start your gardening season with a clean slate. This allows you to express creativity through the arrangement and varieties of vegetables you choose to plant. You might also want to add some compost to your garden’s soil to give your fall crops a great head-start.
Fall vegetables come in a variety of colors, textures, and tastes! Some of these nutritious cool-weather treasures include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes, kale, rutabagas, green onions, and a variety of fast-growing greens like arugula, mustard, and turnips! These vegetables can come together to create so many amazing fall flavor combinations.
When planting your vegetables by seed, try to put them a little deeper into the soil than you would during the warmer weather. The deeper soil tends to be cooler and moister. Be sure not to over-water your garden! Vegetables in the fall do best with about one inch of water per week. With extra-special care, some of the fall veggies can flourish even past the first frost!
Whether you decide to try autumn gardening or not, take a trip to any of your local farmers markets that remain open past the end of summer (like the State Farmers Market in Raleigh). You will be surprised by the variety of fall vegetables, and you might even see a vegetable you have never tried. If you do, don’t be afraid to purchase some and look for interesting and fun recipes online. As you can see, fall weather is perfect for a unique set of vegetables that offer nutritious and delicious additions to any meal!
The Poe Center’s PlayWell Park is home to our very own Poe and Grow Garden. This fall, we are growing squash, kohlrabi, radishes, basil, mint, spinach, kale and green onions. At other places throughout the park, we are growing various perennials including blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, rosemary, a grape vine, and fig trees. The garden is a huge hit with the children and adults who visit our facility. We find that the garden really brings out the inquisitive nature of the kids (and adults!) who visit. Because of the important and relevant connections between gardening and nutrition, the Poe Center offers the Growing Healthy Kids program for 1st-3rd graders which teaches students about gardening, health, and plant biology. Please contact Kate Mascho, the Poe Center’s Scheduling Coordinator, at (919) 231-4006 ext. 399 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule this program for your group today!