Planting Leafy Greens in Fall

lettuce in garden with plow

lettuce in garden with plowIf you intend to plant some edible “leafy greens” in your garden and the summertime has passed, have no fear!

Fall is the golden time to get the deed done. The growth of leafy greens is not restricted to fall only. They can excellently thrive in the fall temperature- and even into the frosty winter season!

In fact, the yield of these plants during fall is sometimes better than in the summer. The harvest of these greens depends upon the timing. Those vegetables that exhibit cold-tolerant tendencies have a better chance of surviving through the fall and early winter.

While some varieties tend to grow better through nourishment and summer temperature. Therefore, choose the greens according to the season.

Growing the Greens

Following are some of the details that you must consider while growing the leafy greens during the fall.

Required Temperature

Most greens require a 70°F temperature that is ideally present around fall. For some veggies, such as kale, the temperature even lower, down to 50°F as sustainable.

The truth is, germination period of the seed suffers when the temperature is above 70°F, so cooler temperatures are actually safer. Most other leafy greens can grow and nourish in that same range of 50 to 70 degrees.

Therefore, sow the seeds somewhere between the end of July to mid-September, depending on your local weather patterns. A close eye to the temperature and precipitation can provide a chance to take advantage of an incredible period of nourishment in your garden.

The Soil

Before sowing the seeds, ensure that the soil can hold the plants. Fall can be tough on some plants. Thus, enriching the soil assists the plants in fighting the harsh conditions.

Learn more HERE about testing your soil conditions, so you know how to optimize the health and growth of your fall veggies.

Furthermore, treating the soil is necessary to prevent weed growth during the plant yield. Prior to plantation use pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides to create the soil beds. Just be sure you don’t use an herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds, as this may harm your vegetables.

Counter the Cold

Nights during fall are comparatively colder than the days. They can affect plant growth and sometimes may even cease it.

In such cases, plants go dormant and do not produce yield on the set time. Therefore, during the night, cover the seedlings with a cloth or garden quilt.

Fall Greens

Following are some of the varieties you can grow during fall.

Iceberg Lettuce

The cabbage-like bulbs of iceberg lettuce grow optimally during the fall season. They require a cooler temperature for maturity and produce the best harvest during the early winters.

Sow the seeds directly into the soil rather than starting them indoors. This lettuce requires a kick-start of nourishing fertilizer to boost its initial growth.

Kale

Also known as leafy cabbage, kale grows ideally during the fall season. The nutrient-rich plant shows high growth when paired with other fall greens.

Kale requires moist and enriched soil for growth, so be prepared to tend to this plant regularly. These vitamin-abundant greens may take up to 95 days before sprouting.

Our friends at JC’s Landscaping have additional education for you about When to Plant Fall Vegetables.

Spinach

The cool-season crop takes 37 to 45 days until the seedlings emerge. It requires moist fertilizer-rich soil for growth, so make sure you take time for regular tending of these plants.

Spinach develops thick taproot, meaning you want to aerate the soil as deeply as 1 foot before transferring the seedlings into your yard. This practice helps ensure that the roots get enough oxygen as the plant matures.

Keep in mind that fresh, small spinach leaves are sweeter and softer than their larger, more bitter counterparts.

Once you’ve got everything planted and ready to go, you will certainly want to know the Best Ways to Water Your Vegetable Garden.

Harvesting spinach regularly will prompt the plant to continue producing fresh leaves through its active growth season. This is a great way to keep your table full of deep leafy greens that boost your family’s overall health!

Conclusion

Leafy greens may show optimal growth during the cold season if the soil has sufficient nutrients and remains moist. These seeds do not require pre-soaking treatments and can be sown directly. So, take advantage of the fall and grow your favorite greens.

How Much Mulch to Use

What is mulch?

Mulch is a vapor barrier covering soil in landscape beds.  Mulches can be made of organic or inorganic materials. Flower bed mulch can help suppress weeds, maintain soil temperature levels, and provide a decorative touch to the bed.

How Much Mulch to Use?

Suppliers recommend from 1 to 3 inches of mulch on a highly sloped landscape. A hard rain will wash such material off the slope where sloping occurs.  Proper barriers must be installed to hold the mulch, and heavier materials such as gravels or rocks.

When choosing a mulch, aesthetics is typically the most important concern of a homeowner or landscaper.  A successful water conservation program will educate the final user about proper application of mulch, including maintenance in order to get the greatest water savings. Water savings are related to depth of mulch slope of soil, irrigation system, and proper application. Mulch placed too close to trunks of plants can provide a habitat for pathogens (fungus or molds).

Types of Mulches

Rocks and gravel hold heat more than organic mulches, therefore organic mulch should only be used with heat tolerant plants. Other inorganic mulch products include recycled rubber products. The principle advantage of inorganic mulches is the fact that organic materials decompose. Organic material must be replaced or added to every year.

Organic mulches, such as include shredded bark, leaves, and chipped wood can decay. After rainfall mulches can compact, and if anaerobic spaces develop.  A “sour” mulch with ammonia, or other organic gases can develop which can damage or kill the plants. Mulched beds with organic materials need regular turning to prevent such anaerobic processes. Some types of mulches can hold water better than others. Micro irrigation is recommended, however it is wise to avoid sprinkler irrigation which wets the entire mulched bed.

Mulching is not always easy. Let Prosper Sod’s professional team work your garden and flower bed to perfection.

Tips for Growing a Blue Plumbago

Maintenance

Blue Plumbago is relatively easy to grow, and blooms all year in climates with mild winters. With long, thin stems and pale blue flowers, it’s prized as a shrub, climber, potted plant and ground cover.  Although this shrub has few special needs, it does have specific requirements for ideal growth.

Plumbago is propagated from cuttings in the summer, but you can also grow it from seed. Plant plumbago in light, sandy, well-drained soils, spacing each shrub 36 to 60 inches apart to allow room to grow. If spaced properly, blue plumbago will naturally cascade in a fountain shape. Blue plumbago prefers slightly acidic soil, so don’t add lime to the soil or plant in alkaline soils. Blue plumbago requires six or more hours of direct sunlight each day. While it can tolerate partial shade, it will produce fewer blooms than if you plant in full sun. Blue plumbago can be grown indoors and in your garden.

Water

 

Water new plants regularly to keep the soil consistently moist until the plants are established. Once established, blue plumbago requires watering only when the soil is dry to the touch. Blue plumbago is considered moderately drought-tolerant, and excessive moisture can lead to root rot.

Pruning

Plumbago plants should be pruned heavily to control growth, maintain their bush shape and maximize blooms. Blue plumbago blooms on the current season’s growth, so prune faded blooms in late winter. Removing flower buds is not necessary. Remove old, diseased or dead branches completely to allow new growth. Cut back to live or healthy wood when pruning dead or diseased branches. Make angled cuts just above buds when pruning healthy growth to improve your plant’s shape. An application of fertilizer after pruning encourages new growth.

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