Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus
A Second Spring
As we ride out the dog days of summer and admire the lush tomatoes and abundant eggplant hanging heavily on their vines, it is easy to feel like the growing season is winding down for the year. However, planting a fall garden is a great way to extend the season as well as grow different crops in anticipation of the cooling weather.
It feels like the summer flies by so quickly and I am always left yearning for more time to plant. Breaking out of the notion that growing food is only a spring and summer activity is liberating and highly rewarding. Knowing that we can always plant more, care for the crops better, and preserve more of the harvest keeps us going full speed ahead as we hone our craft and follow our passion.
Installing the Garden Beds
Around late July, while the tomatoes and zucchini are still going strong, we decided that it was a great time to start growing crops for a fall harvest. Using scrap wood we were able to construct two garden beds at very low cost, paying only for organic soil and compost. The largest bed is about 4ft. by 20ft, while the smaller one is about 3ft by 3ft. We laid out the dimensions of the bed, and got to work removing the sod with a hoe and shovel. Once that was finished we added fresh soil and compost and the beds were ready to be seeded.
Square Foot Gardening
Square foot gardening is a method of intensive gardening in smaller spaces. With the goal of producing the largest possible yield, the garden bed is broken into square foot blocks and then planted with as many plants that will fit in each space, depending on how large each crop grows. For example, only one kale plant can grow per square foot because it is so large, while up to 16 carrots can be planted in the same space. In these new beds, we planted a variety of lettuces, kale, carrots, beets, radishes, cilantro and sweet potato plants. Most of these crops grow very fast, and all of them love the cooler temperatures that the fall ushers in.
We are currently formulating our plans for another planting, specifically onions, shallots and garlic which we will plant in mid-fall and harvest in early spring 2016.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul – Alfred Austin