The sweltering summer heat may make it hard to believe, but now is the time that gardeners in Maine need to start thinking about fall gardening. The gardening season doesn’t end with plump tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, after all. Summer may not be over, but a whole new round of plants can be sown and grown for fall right now.
Plant now for a fall harvest
This guide to fall vegetable planting 101 will help get you started. It explains the best crops to plant in a fall garden (especially ones that will sweeten as the weather cools, like carrots), when to plant based on your last frost date and how to best sow your fall vegetables for maximum success.
Aside from planting, there are a number of other items on fall gardening checklists. You can use season extenders for your summer crops if you are not ready to give up on your tomatoes when the time comes. Gardeners should also keep weeding to make sure seeds don’t set next year. Also, fall is a great time to get a soil test before the ground freezes so you can be prepared with amendments for next year.
What to plant for fall
Like with spring crops, certain fall crops are best started indoors several weeks before they are transplanted into the garden, like broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Check the seed packets on your plants for more information. A DIY seedling grow rack outfitted with proper lights will help your seedlings thrive.
Sowing plants for next spring
Bulbs can be planted in the fall for a more colorful garden come spring. Fall is also a great time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. This primer on how to plant deciduous trees in the fall will help you to get started.
Another thing to consider when it comes to fall gardening is garlic, which should be planted at the end of the season and overwintered for best results. This guide will show you how to make sure your garlic flourishes. Also, check out this guide to different kinds of garlic so you can choose the alium that is best for you.
Or, if you simply are not interested in a second harvest, you can prepare your garden or raised bed for the end of the season — this column and video will show you how.